Darren Criss’ New York Times Photo Shoot

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

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Last week I got a call from the New York Times asking me to photograph Darren Criss, the breakout star of the Fox high school musical series “Glee”, to accompany a story about his upcoming Broadway debut in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

One of the things I love about my job is the unexpected assignments I receive usually on a moment’s notice. This time my editor called around 5PM to schedule a shoot later in the evening on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at an old-school diner near Darren’s apartment. It happened to be very cold that night, so I opted to take a few pictures inside the diner so we could first warm up a bit.

I met the reporter, Patrick Healey, and soon after Darren arrived joyful with a big grin. It’s always nice to work with someone who is very upbeat and talkative. Darren, Patrick, and I had a hot tea to warm up and chatted a bit before I started shooting.

When I have celebrity shoots, I always try to arrive a bit in advance to scout the area for nice portrait locations because often I have little time with those subjects. I’m always looking for quality light sources, as I prefer to take naturally lit portraits as often as possible. I love documentary photography and I suppose shooting natural light is my way of merging the two genres of photography.

After capturing a few portraits of him enjoying a ice cream sundae at the bar in the diner, we walked outside and up the block to a bank of pay phones I’d scouted earlier. I liked the nostalgia of a pay phone, but what really drew me was the light from the adjacent Apple Store spilling directly into the booths.

I hope I cross paths Darren again in the future…until then, break a leg on Broadway!

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