We are so excited to start off the new year and a new partnership with photographer Blaise Hayward!

By Missy Hunter

Blaise has the ability to create and photograph a moment of unique connection with people. Specializing in expressive portraiture, he has shot a diverse range of subjects from Fortune 500 CEOs to cancer survivors. His website is a collection of expressive portraits and people you feel like you already know.  And his Instagram gives you a glimpse into what he is working on and some sneak peeks at new work.

We asked him to give us a bit of background on himself.

1. What characteristics do you possess that you gained from childhood? Who/what influenced you from childhood?
First and foremost, would be a strong work ethic. I also learned early on that you control your destiny and that excuses are just excuses. I was raised by a single mother who sacrificed everything for my two siblings and me. Money was tight, and that taught me to be self-sufficient from a young age.

2. When did you begin showing an interest in photography?
Was there something in particular that attracted you to it? High School. My dad bought me my first camera, an Olympus OM10 and I began shooting for the Yearbook. Life Magazine greatly influenced me at one end of the spectrum and Sports Illustrated at the other. The saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ really resonated with me.

3. How has your HS/College/career path shaped who you are?
It was High School where I realized that I had an eye and some potential as a Photographer. I instinctively knew how to frame a shot. I only did one year of University, as the institution I was attending had recently reorganized its Visual Arts curriculum, and it was not working for me at the time. I left and started assisting right away.

4. You describe yourself as an artist first, then a photographer. Can you explain how your view of art colors your approach to photography?
It took me a long time to get comfortable referring to myself as an Artist, and I am still working on it. For some reason and maybe it’s my story, but the Art world is very reluctant to acknowledge commercial photographers as Artists. There is a stigma attached to it, and I have been working hard to try to change that for myself. I recently launched my art site – www. blaisehayward.com and am determined to get gallery representation. Hopefully this year.

5. How have you and your work grown and changed with the times?
I could write an essay on this topic, but a condensed answer would be that as I have gotten older my eye is more refined and my taste is more sophisticated. I have also learned to trust myself a lot more than I used to. I believe in my instincts and am not so concerned with what others think. Not to say I don’t listen and value people’s opinions, but in the end, you need to believe in yourself.

6. What are three words or a phrase or two that describe your photography style? Original, beautiful and inspiring.

7. What is your measure of success with a campaign?
My goal every time I shoot a campaign is to exceed the agency and client’s expectations. That is usually a good formula to everyone leaving set feeling good with the sense of a job well done. Also, it is essential that everyone does a lot of laughing.

8. What is your dream job?
Shooting for a great company or institution that would take me all over the world shooting fascinating people and places, while doing our utmost to respect the environment. To me, traveling is one of life’s great pleasures, and when combined with my passion, I am a happy man.

9. Are there mantras that you live by?
Good things happen to good people, be kind to all animals, respect the environment, be thankful for what you have and work hard for what you want. Own it.

10. What does it take to make a great image?
Confidence, trust, and an artist’s eye.

11. What does it take to be a great photographer?
Passion, Patience, Support, and Love. I have all four and am eternally grateful for that.