Celine Griscom interviews friend of the co-op, Still life photographer, Nathan Kraxberger.
I have been styling for Nathan Kraxberger for a few years now, and I always look forward to spending time in his studio. It’s always good vibes, as Nate has a chill way about him while he makes sure each shot is as perfect and beautiful as it can be. I really enjoy working with people like him who care about the quality of the work and care about delivering all that was promised to the client. So each day we have a running dialogue on getting the shots right all the while laughing at some good dad-jokes, rockin’ to great albums, and enjoying the natural light coming through his arked window. I am often amazed watching him work fast magic in photoshop, fixing anything I cannot on set. Another rare (in this business) quality that Nathan has is his honesty and sense of fairness. I trust him implicitly, and as a result, I am always happy to go the extra mile for him and his clients. He really brings that out in people. If we speed through the agreed- upon shot-count, we will do more rather than just call it a day early. His beautiful work and collaborative spirit must be why his client list glows with such brands as Rag &Bone, Oscar De La Renta, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Kate Spade (to name a select few).
What type of photography do you specialize in?
First, thank you Celine for this opportunity and it’s always great working with you! While I enjoy many types of photography, I specialize in still life, and more specifically, fashion and beauty related still life. I’ve been shooting in this category for about 10 years now and I absolutely love it. While I am not highly fashionable myself, I enjoy seeing the trends come and go and I really enjoy photographing beautifully crafted garments and products. Often times, it’s a small team, or maybe even one person, who has spent countless hours designing an item, and I feel it’s my responsibility to make that piece as beautiful as possible, bringing their concept and design to life for all to see. I love my job!
Location, Location Location! Tell me about your sweet spot...how convenient is it to have a studio in the heart of downtown?
Yes, I am very proud of my location. I’m at the corner of Broadway and Houston, right in the heart of SoHo. It makes me happy when a new client comes to the studio and says “I love this neighborhood!”. For me, I like to make it as convenient and enjoyable for my clients as possible, and for the fashion industry, it doesn’t get much better than SoHo.
What is the biggest or most frequent problem that clients have that you can help solve?
Living and working in NYC is not easy, and there is often something that makes our lives (and jobs) difficult. With that, I think my clients enjoy the flexibility and accommodating environment that I provide them. I can make changes on the fly so that a shoot always goes off without a hitch. Also, being the point person on all things related to the shoot, from bookings to image delivery, keeps mistakes and miscommunication to an extreme low. I love communicating with my clients directly so that I can provide exactly what they are looking for.
How did you become a photographer?
I bought my first camera when I was 8....a beautiful Pentax PC35AF. I used that camera for years, taking pictures of things that interested me, but all the while not really thinking about composition or storytelling. Fast forward to 2005 when I was living and working in Atlanta, sort of spinning my wheels career wise. I decided to go back to grad school for photography and loved it. The next thing I knew I was in NYC and the rest is history!
What is your favorite type of project?
This one is easy! On-location still life. While I love shooting in the studio, it’s so much fun to shoot on location. You simply can not replicate the look and feel of a real life location. The colors, the light quality, the surfaces...all these things add up to making very interesting and beautiful photos.
When you are not shooting, what do you get up to, and does it play into your work at all?
I have 3 kids that keep me plenty busy, so finding time is tough! Having said that, I am an avid cyclist and try to get out as often as possible for a nice, long ride. The bike is my personal escape from the city, and while on those long rides, my mind is able to wander and I often find myself thinking about personal photo projects or lighting techniques. I also keep my photography skills sharp by shooting street style in NYC. I’m fascinated by the city in general, including the people and places that exist here.