Yes, you could say I was pretty nervous taking photographer Brian Leighton’s picture at his Black and White opening at the midtown design studio Atelier earlier this week. He’s a consummate professional with a beautiful eye for detail and a smooth, relaxed demeanor that puts all of his human subjects at ease.
And, I’m well…a writer. With an iPhone camera. But gracious as he always is — I’ve known Brian since his days waiting and my days drinking at Bar Six, writing up his first opening back in the day as he made the transition from personal trainer/server to talented self-taught art and nude portrait photographer — he put me at ease as I snapped a couple frames that weren’t worthy, then let me know this shot, below, wasn’t all that bad. Oh. And he’s also a lovely subject.
Brian’s art is the perfect complement to today’s uncluttered interior spaces, his black-and-white nudes architectural in scale and composition, his found objets playful and insightful, caught forever alive as his eye found them, juxtaposing the chic calm-colored walls of charcoal and grey at Atelier. Like two glass doorknobs found on a background of dices, opening to a pair of snake eyes smack in the middle. Or the street lamp shot from below that could be the Seattle Needle’s twin tower, a cane, or a new condo building. Bared buttocks covered in sand become dunes, a mountain range, a living landscape above a sleek bed. My favorite remains 45 rpms, a nude “sculpted” in the shape of the record insert. His simple advice on taking beautiful photos? Find the beauty within and capture it. And so well and easily does he.
Brian’s current book, “50 Ways to Shoot Your Lover: Intimate Moments with Muses” showcases his tips on photographing his muses — use texture, keep it simple, follow the lines, etc. His next project, which he is calling “Peep Show,” sounds thrilling and all-encompassing and possibly unobtainable.
But knowing Brian, he will find a way to make it work. And it will be beautiful.