In The Viewfinder is a new series that allows you to learn a bit more about your favorite FYP writers.  While we know your enjoy their articles, sometimes you just want to know what makes them tick!  We are pleased to provide that insight for you.

Jaycee Crawford is a part-time creative portrait and boudoir photographer currently living in Brooklyn, New York City.  A visual artist by schooling, he is a collector of people, places, ideas and music and he avidly consumes a wide variety of topics ranging from philosophy, psychology and behavioral economics to health, history and quantum mechanics – all of which help stoke the universal furnace of intrigue and henceforth his creativity.

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Eschewing the typical themes of contemporary portraiture, he strives to develop the latent personality of each subject in front of the lens in order to elicit the more guarded emotions and expressions that often go unrecorded.  Although his subjects are often mistaken for models, he primarily works with friends and acquaintances.  In his work, he aims to create a “mirror” in which his subjects can see a different perspective of themselves. Jaycee’s skill enables them to see and come to terms with the elusive part of their personality.

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Unlike celebrities and political figures who are used to being followed around by cameras, most people never get the chance to learn to be themselves and develop their camera persona.  Part of Jaycee’s mission is to give that opportunity to as many people as possible. His goal is for each subject to eventually see themselves from all sides as varied and beautiful, and in the process also be able to see themselves through his eyes, as a subject of art.

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Jaycee considers each photographic session a sort of visual psychotherapy for his subjects – a self-registering of the mental awareness and capacity for the natural beauty that lie within each of us.  Most people freeze in front of the camera – they lock themselves up and act rigidly and unnaturally.  Jaycee’s method is to work supportively through this period while shooting the entire time – allowing the subject the time to desensitize to the clicking of the camera and patiently awaiting the eventually glimmer of their real character that begins to come forth.

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Jaycee recognizes that the experience can be slightly unnerving at first, but he also is aware that his subjects actually crave to be photographed and for the results to be outstanding.   As a society we have been conditioned to look at beautiful people – in magazines, on the web, on television, in movies and on billboards.  The people we see in these magazines, movies and ads are groomed constantly and fastidiously, and they have been draped in beautiful, stylish clothing and placed under soft, magical lighting in beautiful, exotic and expensive surroundings.  Because of the vast resources that go into promoting these glamorous images, this world of aesthetics often does not extend to our own realm of imagination despite the fact that we buy the clothes and the cars, the magazines and the accessories, we groom ourselves and have our hair done more times and ways than we care to admit; but unfortunately most of us think – that is probably as close as we’ll ever come.

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This unmet desire culminates into society’s veritable yearning to complete the circle,  to personally desire to be photographed in the fashion to which they have become accustomed viewing.  Jaycee hopes to help fill that unmet niche, of this, he says:

I have just started meeting and working with a few makeup artists and stylists, so some of my shoots have a bit of extra ‘flair’ because of it – but for the most part, much of my work is still completed by myself and the subject. With good lighting and some creative thinking, a little goes a long way.

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Jaycee applies the same values  to his boudoir photography.  While he was originally surprised by the number of women interested in having a boudoir photography session, he believes they are inspired by being bombarded with  images of celebrities and models shown in advertising and fashion that are displayed with beautiful bodies in various states of undress.  Recent ad campaigns by Victoria’s Secret, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Calvin Klein, support his opinion.  Fortunately for boudoir photographers, the advertising industry drives promotion through visual aesthetics of naked or near naked bodies.  As far as subjects actively seeking to participate in boudoir photography what they consume visually is what they subconsciously want for themselves as well.

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Jaycee admits that there is more demand for boudoir than ‘dude-doir’ (for males), but he feels the day is fast approaching when men begin to want artistic and beautiful photos of their bodies as well.  Jaycee opins:

A very large part of our male society invests a lot of time and money in eating right and going to gym religiously. Meanwhile, the male aesthetic has been completely overhauled in the last decade by the popularly erotic ads for companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister, Gucci and Armani Exchange, to name a few. It’s just a matter of time until the tide turns.

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Regarding his definition of beauty, Jaycee says he sees everyone as beautiful and as having the innate capacity to make a good, photogenic subject. Jaycee says:

It is always interesting to find out what my subjects feel is and isn’t beautiful about themselves.  There are so many issues that we maintain collectively and personally about our own faces and bodies – how they don’t match up to this or that culturally defined standard of aesthetics. We can all at some point feel down on ourselves, and I, myself, am guilty in sometimes thinking these thoughts too. We look at our visual culture and if we do not feel represented by a standard of beauty – then we naturally feel omitted and less than beautiful.

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The truth of the matter, and what Jaycee espouses, is that all it really takes is patience, sincerity and trust — and some beautiful lighting — to be able to tease out the inner beauty and then capture it with the camera. He hopes to make the switch from his part-time photography schedule to being a self-employed, full-time creative, by the end of the year.  He can be reached here at FYP, on his  Google Plus account, or by email to dj.tigersprout@gmail.com .

Jeremy

Jeremy is a consultant, educator and photographer based in the Caribbean. He shoots an eclectic range of material, but his favorite subjects are urban and seascapes, people and aircraft. He mixes his love of technology and travel with photography. Following a brief post college hiatus he picked up a camera again in 2003 and has been shooting ever since. You may view his work on his website


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