WSJ. Magazine launched in 2008 with the aim of combining eye-catching photography and insightful reporting in a publication that brings us to the cutting-edge in the worlds of fashion, technology, travel, design, art and entertainment.
The magazine works with some of the world’s top photographers, from well-known names in editorial work like David Bailey, Juergen Teller and Peter Lindbergh to more unexpected artists like Nobuyoshi Araki. Curious to learn more about how the magazine’s high-profile shoots come together, we reached out to the magazine’s director of photography (and juror for the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2017) Jennifer Pastore, to learn more about the monthly publication’s perspective on photography.
LC: Portrait photography is deeply associated with the still image and with fashion photography in particular. What makes a powerful portrait for you? What do you look for when trying to convey (or commission someone else to convey) a subject in an original, memorable way?
JP: The most powerful portraits leave me with the feeling that I am witnessing either the subject in an unguarded moment or in some kind of tête-à-tête with the photographer. At WSJ., we look for photographers who will hopefully draw something special out of the subject during the sitting—whether through their particular set-up or through their interactions during the shoot. There is a certain alchemy that goes into a successful portrait shoot; as a photo editor, I try to assemble the best ingredients and then let the process happen.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about a portrait series of babies in profile by Bettina von Zwehl and also some recent portraits of children by Pieter Hugo. As a new mother, they move me in very different ways, and yet I find both series to be hauntingly beautiful. They stay with me.
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