Jesse Lee Soffer | Chicago PD’s Detective Jay Halstead
As a celeb photographer, I work with actors, musicians, and other public figures from around the world. On this particular day, I had the pleasure of working with New York born and raised actor, Jesse Lee Soffer. It was a warm summer day in Los Angeles and Jesse’s break from Chicago PD was coming to a close. But, before heading back for the 3rd season, he worked in a shoot with me for US Weekly, followed by a final soccer match with friends.
Classic Americana Style
The theme for this shoot is classic, handsome Americana, inspired by Jesse’s midwest detective character, “Jay Halstead”. To bring the concept to life, the stylist pulled a vintage denim-on-denim look and a fool-proof plain white T. The perfect fit for a guy who spends much of his free time riding his Harley on the open road.
The Portrait: Celeb Photographer Inspiration
Although many press photos are half- to full-body shots, I try my best to work in portraits whenever I can. A stand-out actor portrait engages viewers in a way that a full-length rarely does. Also, there’s the added bonus of the actors being able to use them for their headshots. But, the real secret is that I shoot portraits because I absolutely love it.
Dainon and I started our career doing black-and-white portrait photography on medium-format film. This genre requires a true connection with the camera, palpable emotion, and the ability to draw the viewer in. If the image lacks those qualities, it’s not a portrait – it’s just a close-up. This is one of the reasons why we love working with actors – they can express themselves at a deeper level than most humans and it’s magical to witness; Jesse was no exception.
The Fan Factor
The impact of celebrity portrait photography is significant because of their unique fans. Fans are so involved with the actors and characters that they play that they often feel a deep and personal connection to them and the stories that they tell. When a portrait of an actor is created successfully, it enables viewers to deepen this connection even further.
It’s remarkable to me that people can have such strong feelings toward someone they’ve never met. But, I think that speaks to the talent of the actor and their ability to transform into someone real and relatable to so many people. It’s certainly a unique form of human connection, and one that I feel lucky to be part of, if only for a moment.
If you like this gallery, check out our shoot with Scandal’s “Huck,” Guillermo Diaz.