Capturing Beauty, Passion & More With This Fab Photographer

Credit: Braden Summers

Braden Summers first came to my attention after one of his photos was featured in an interview I did with hunky actor Max Emerson earlier this year.

His photography goes beyond taking snaps of beautiful men like Max as he also manages to highlight a variety of people in the most wonderfully colorful atmospheres from the outfits they are wearing to the backgrounds in which they pose in front of.

He’s our latest to be featured in Instinct Magazine’s ongoing photographer series. Check out our exclusive with him below where he dishes on career beginnings to the importance of him highlighting the LGBTQ community in his work.

How did you get involved in the art of photography?

Throughout my childhood, I immersed myself in the arts. I had several art teachers who developed my drawing and painting skills and I opted to take AP art classes in high school, but I never found a medium that really clicked. It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I took my first photo course, shooting with black and white film, and fell in love with the camera. After high school, I spent a year at Boston University studying general education courses before transferring to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I dedicated my studies to becoming a commercial photographer.  

Did you have any inspirations before getting into the industry?

Early on, I was drawn to the work of M.C. Escher and René Magritte. As a college student I was enthralled with photographers Gregory Crewdson and Alex Prager. These artists all display non-traditional and often fantastical interpretations of the world in their work; it helped to inspire outside-the-box thinking, to realize that as an artist you can create your own reality.  

Credit: Braden Summers

How would you describe your specific style?

The aesthetic of my work is focused on beauty and the power of beautiful imagery in mainstream media. I find inspiration for the work I create from paintings; I look for color palettes that are striking, playful, and harmonious.

You’ve shot some pretty amazing guys during your career. Do you usually search for them or do they come to you?

My subjects have come from paid assignments, collaborations with model agencies, reaching out to men on Instagram and vice versa; there has been no one path. I have certainly been fortunate enough to photograph some incredibly beautiful men and women. The fun part of my creative process is to bring out the unique beauty that I see in each of them. Some of the male muses I have yet to work with, but hope to one day are Alton Mason, Kadu Giacomini, and Jhona Burjack

Credit: Braden Summers

What has been your favorite shoot to date and why?

I created a series titled ALL LOVE IS EQUAL in the fall of 2013. The work was intended to provide a relatable vision of gay romance in mainstream media using the same tools that illustrate straight romance. I raised money to travel the world over a 5 week period with my photo producer, Greg Jarsozewski. The goal was to create idyllic photographs of same-sex romance in different cultures to show that all love truly is, and should be viewed, as equal.

If there was one event that you could cover what would it be?

I typically leave event coverage to the documentary photographers of the world, image making for me is about the collaboration between subject and photographer. That said, if I could create an image to represent an event or topic it would focus on the collective fight by minority groups like the LGBTQ+ community for equality and inclusion.

Credit: Braden Summers

Do you feel photographers are not as appreciated these days due to so much of the focus shifting to social media selfies and filters?

Not in the slightest!  If anything, I think the average smart phone user may have a greater appreciation for what it takes to be a good photographer. Filters, for the most part, cannot make a great photographer, they simply have the power to marginally improve a photograph. It takes a deeper understanding of light, color and composition to be a great photographer.

What does the future hold for you and what are you looking forward to the most in your career?

I imagine the future of my career to involve photographing influential figures that are changing the world, elevating their stature through my unique take on beauty.

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