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Darren Criss Portrait Shoot for The New York Times

Last week I got a call from the New York Times asking me to photograph Darren Criss, the breakout star of the Fox high school musical series “Glee”, to accompany a story about his upcoming Broadway debut in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

One of the things I love about my job is the unexpected assignments I receive usually on a moment’s notice. This time my editor called around 5PM to schedule a shoot later in the evening on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at an old-school diner near Darren’s apartment. It happened to be very cold that night, so I opted to take a few pictures inside the diner so we could first warm up a bit.

I met the reporter, Patrick Healey, and soon after Darren arrived joyful with a big grin. It’s always nice to work with someone who is very upbeat and talkative. Darren, Patrick, and I had a hot tea to warm up and chatted a bit before I started shooting.

When I have celebrity shoots, I always try to arrive a bit in advance to scout the area for nice portrait locations because often I have little time with those subjects. I’m always looking for quality light sources, as I prefer to take naturally lit portraits as often as possible. I love documentary photography and I suppose shooting natural light is my way of merging the two genres of photography.

After capturing a few portraits of him enjoying a ice cream sundae at the bar in the diner, we walked outside and up the block to a bank of pay phones I’d scouted earlier. I liked the nostalgia of a pay phone, but what really drew me was the light from the adjacent Apple Store spilling directly into the booths.

I hope I cross paths Darren again in the future…until then, break a leg on Broadway!

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7 Comments
  1. 01/3/2012
    Jenna Williams

    Thank you so very much for sharing all these wonderful photos and the story behind the shoot with all of us! It’s very much appreciated by the fans, and the photos are just lovely!

  2. 01/3/2012
    Lynn

    Thank you so much for sharing your work with Darren. Huge fan of his and you did him great justice in these pieces. Loved reading about the shoot!

  3. 01/3/2012
    Roseann

    Lovely photos, Robert.

    I especially like the one that was published.

  4. 01/3/2012
    Jeremy Miller

    Thank you for sharing these photos and providing some context to the photos. As usual, your pictures are amazing!

  5. 01/3/2012
    Gemma

    Great photos. Thank you for sharing them and also giving us the story re how the shoot came about etc. Loved reading about it and seeing all the pictures

  6. 01/3/2012

    Those pictures are really fantastic. I especially love the work you’ve done on the lights for the interior ones, it’s really interesting and creates a warm ambiance for the serie

  7. 01/4/2012
    Wilfred

    Darren Criss is so amazing.He is one of the most great performers today and I’m a number one fan of him. Great job scooper!