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Jesse Dreyfus – Photographer

Jesse grew up in a small town in the Catskill mountain region of upstate New York, about 3 hours northwest of New York City. He studied Media and did a lot of video editing in San Francisco. He hated how long the editing process was with video and  loved how quickly he could turn around an edit with photography. When he graduated, a lot of people were interested in his work, so he decided pursue a career in photography.

What or who is inspiring you right now?

I am always inspired by other photographers and artists, and musical artists.  Of course always by my close friends and family. And my grandmother… I was very close to her.  She was so fabulous.

How have you developed your career? What are you doing now?

I started as an intern for a fashion photographer in the city many years ago. Then I assisted a lot of different photographers whose work I admired.  Now I am trying to concentrate more on my own work more.

Describe your creative process

It kind of depends on the project.  For shoots I try and develop as much of a detailed concept as I can before doing the shoot.  I don’t always have a full team with me (stylist/hair/makeup/set artists), so I tend to all of those details myself, which I actually really enjoy.  Sometimes I have no plans at all, and I just play around and see what happens. Sometimes those end up being the best shoots.

What do you want to say with your work?

I’m not really sure yet.

How would you define your style?

I often hear people say my photos are very “clean”.  I’m not sure why they are that way… I just know if there is visual clutter in them it drives my OCD crazy and has to go. 

My deepest hope is  that they will be considered timeless. And have a natural quality to them.  I really hate overly retouched images that look fake.

Paint a picture of where you live/describe it

In real life I live in some apartment in New York City and escape on the weekends to my hometown where I can go kayaking and get outside.

In my head I live in a small, but fabulous, modern looking home in the woods that I built that is surrounded by my huge gardens, and I have a really handsome Saint Bernard.  

What is your favourite era of design?

Renaissance and Rococo period paintings really inspire me.  I wish my photos looked more like that.

Who has been the most inspirational person for you?

My grandmother is certainly one.

What’s the project you are working on right now that you feel most passionately about?

There are a few I want to tackle over the next couple years… one I am really excited about involves Scandinavia.  Another one has to do with wig heads.

Describe your “typical” daily routine?

Mmmm… It usually starts with coffee.

How do look after yourself mentally and physically?

(laughs) I’ve never been into exercising, but I try.  I like yoga a lot. I’d like to learn tai chi. I’m a very spiritual person by nature so I do meditate and pray.     

What’s your favourite film?

I don’t have just one but I’m usually watching all the sci-fi & fantasy movies. 

Do you have a favourite quote that you try to live by?

Not one in particular, but Oprah’s advice on finding your way in life is very dear to my heart and what I try to live by.  I think about her wisdom in this interview every day:

What makes you nervous?

Crazy people. Like not good-crazy, but scary-crazy.  I live in New York City so I run into them sometimes. 

Is there anything in your career that you regret not doing?/regret doing?

No 🙂

Who’s the nicest person you have worked with?

There have been so many!

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I’m still hammering out my 5 year plan (laughs)

Do you dream?

All the time.  So I try to keep myself grounded in the here-and-now moment, but it’s hard for me.

What’s on your playlist right now?

Lots of electronic things surely. 

Can you describe what you are doing now , with your life and work?

I’ve been in a transition period for the past few months. I’ve taken a break from my work to get caught up on all my editing, and I finally have for the first time in a long time!   I’m about to get back into it all, and I’m going to focus on elevating my work more. There will probably be a lot of flowers involved.      

See more on Jesse’s website & his instagram @jesse.dreyfus



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