Steven Rosen, who was the official photographer of dot429’s StraightTalk in October 2011, sponsored by FIAT 500, has had a career as eclectic as the people and places he now shoots. Coming into photography later in life after careers as a costume jewelry designer and a book designer, he now shoots weddings, portraits, events, and performers. His work has been published in books, magazines, and newspapers such as Reader’s Digest and the New York Times. Read on to discover what has inspired Steven’s career and what has driven him forward to become the successful photographer he is today.
Why did you get into photography in the first place, after designing jewelry and books?
I went to Rhode Island School of Design, which is an amazing Art and Design college. We were required to take a freshman foundation which gave us the opportunity to try different disciplines before deciding on a major. Part of foundation was a photography class.This was the first time I’d gone beyond taking snapshots, and I really loved it. The head of the department lobbied me to major in photography, but I had come to school wanting to paint and draw and it was hard to get that out of my head. So I followed a different path and graduated with a BFA in Illustration.
After graduation, I found myself working for a costume jewelry company. After a year or two of that, I started my own business making jewelry and my work was featured in many major fashion magazines including Vogue, Harpers, Elle, Life, Mademoiselle and my personal favorite, on the cover of The Star being worn by Marie Osmond.
After about 10 years, fashions changed and my aesthetic was no longer in style, so I taught myself to use a computer, and got a job designing books. Not long after starting that job, I began working on souvenir books for the Disney Theme parks. I’ve always been a huge Disney geek and this was a great fit for me. Part of my job was photo editor, choosing the images that would appear in the books. There were always some images I needed that didn’t exist, so I got into the habit of going to DisneyWorld and taking pictures myself. That lead me to take more photos at home, and before I knew it, I was obsessed with photography.
What inspires you most when you’re looking to capture an image?
Inspiration is a hard thing to quantify. My primary passion is portraiture, and while I am certainly inspired by certain faces and bodies, or specific lighting conditions, much of my inspiration happens once I start shooting. When working with a subject, I’ll start to notice expressions in the face or unique body movements, and that’s what inspires me the most.
What do you have to offer to LGBT subjects in particular?
Some straight photographers can struggle with shooting gay and lesbian couples because they just haven’t been exposed to enough images, or the reality, of loving and affectionate male-male or female-female couples to know how to pose them. I have seen straight photographers who do gorgeous images of straight couples in intimate poses, but when they work with gay couples, they end up looking like distant cousins.
As a gay man, I have a familiarity and understanding of the ways same-sex couples express themselves physically, how they fit together. At most straight weddings, the emphasis is on the bride and images tend to revolve around her. When you have two brides, or no brides, then the dynamic changes. It’s good to have a photographer who is comfortable with that dynamic, otherwise you might end up with those “distant cousins” shots.
As a gay man, I have a love and appreciation for the male form. I shoot a lot of male figure work. There are many photographers doing boudoir photography these days and as far as I can tell, they are all doing images of women exclusively. I do the same for men. I’ve heard what I do referred to as Dude-oir. I’m on the fence about the name, but it is pretty descriptive.
Check out more of Steven’s work at his website here.
Connect with Steven on dot429. Visit his profile here.