Every once in a while a photographer connects with a subject in a photographically intimate way and magic is made. This is the case with photographer Marc Ohrem-Leclef and musician Jon Batiste.
Their artistic relationship began with collaboration on a singe portrait and turned into a documentary project exploring the personal side of this special talent. Captured -primarily- at his home in Washington Heights and on location in a Williamsburg loft, Marc and Jon spent countless hours making images that are, in Marc’s words, “intensely personal and private for such a public persona as Jon” These moments were birthed from a beautiful mix of Marc simply observing Jon is his environment and making subtle suggestions while talking together about tunes, playing the piano and “following spontaneous bursts of music.”
Along their journey, Marc asked Jon to remove his shirt, a first for the two. Marc explains, “I felt that Jon was being genuine, but I felt the need to try and was curious to see how he'd respond to the request, and how it may change his presence in front of the camera. Pushing boundaries helps me define my relationship with my subject, and shaping it to become more personal more quickly.” This is something Marc is known for and it is how he achieves effortless fluidity in his imagery.
This is an ongoing project for Marc and Jon and the two are planning to collaborate on a video project next spring. In the meantime, you can catch Mr. Batiste as the bandleader on the new Late Show with Stephen Colbert.