UPDATE March 19: As a result of The Feather’s visit to Peter Hurley’s studio, he linked this article on his website and announced a new program: Headshot Crew Jr Initiative.
Anyone 18 and under who is interested to learning headshot photography, should complete their profile on www.headshotcrew.com with a headshot of themselves, a bio and begin uploading images in their portfolio. Once they have uploaded 10 images in their portfolio, they can submit it to Hurley for inclusion into the Headshot Crew Jr program.
Peter Hurley gives tour, teaches ‘squinch’
In life, most of us are faced with the challenge to decide a career pathway. For some, this light bulb moment is not made clear right away.
World-renown photographer Peter Hurley experienced this first-hand while he was working as a bartender, Olympian and as a model at a young age. The Feather staff visited his studio on Hurley’s invitation, March 15. He shared his personal and photography experiences and gave professional tips to the young staff.
With an email and some organization of details, The Feather was privileged with a personal interview in Hurley’s Manhattan studio.
While working as a bartender, often until 4 a.m., this lifestyle neither supplied much purpose or revenue that Hurley desired. On the side, he was also a model for designer apparel like Abercrombie & Fitch. However, Hurley didn’t feel that this career would last forever.
Bruce Weber, a photographer who shot photos of Hurley during his modeling career, ushered Hurley to pick up a camera in 2000. Hurley was rather confused about this advice because he was usually the one in front of the camera, not behind it.
This moment on, Hurley never missed a chance to capture a moment with his lens from 2002 going forward. Out of many photography paths, Hurley’s headshot production occupied the most attention. His headshot niche gained him a spot in the Backstage magazine as the best headshot photographer in the New York.
With a YouTube channel, Hurley was able to reach his rising fans through informative videos on how to take the perfect headshot as well as angle. More of these YouTube videos gain Hurley interest and popularity. People continue to be interested in learning about one of the best headshot photographers.
Today Hurley not only takes photographs but also teaches and trains photographers all over the world. In fact, he will be heading to Australia in the next month to combine a sailing trip and photography training in Brisbane and Sydney.
Other than capitalizing in a market that requires headshots, Hurley has also taken the time to speak on the light of understanding as a guest presenter. Rather than capturing just the beauty of a face, he seeks to bring out the personality and beauty in the heart.
When you stretch yourself beyond what you think you are capable of, you’ll find success. — Peter Hurley
Hurley has successfully climbed the ladder as top headshot photographer in NY. As an entrepreneur of Headshot Crew and author of ‘The Headshot,’ the number one book sold in photography on Amazon, Hurley has certainly made a name for himself.
Following the first day of the CSPA journalism conference on the grounds of Columbia University, The Feather Online staff hopped on the New York City Metro, traveling back towards the Fashion District. The team walked to the entrance of a 12-story Arts building and squeezed into the front entryway. Three elevator trips full of students and chaperones later, the group reached Peter Hurley’s studio.
After setting down coats and bags, the team merged into Hurley’s main studio and greeted the photographer. Hurley began conversing with the team about his past and how he became a photographer, leading up to present day.
“Whatever you have to do to get to wherever you want to be, do it,” Hurley said. “But don’t stay in the job, go on a specific path or go to a college that you’re told to go to. Go to where you want to go to and do what you want to do.”
Hurley went on to explain “psyphotology” which combines psychology and photography and offers a way to overcome fear of the camera and work toward self-acceptance. Psyphotology is further elaborated in Hurley’s TEDx talk with Anna Rowley.
“None of you people know what your face looks like right now unless you look in the mirror and you’re flipped,” Hurley said. “But if I put a camera in front of you, your brain is going to try and tell you what your face looks like, but your brain doesn’t even know.”
Hurley demonstrated this by taking a true mirror box and passing it around to the team members. The box showed people what they actually looked like as the viewer stairs at their true likeness, often for the first time.
“Your conscious brain doesn’t know what you look like,” Hurley said. “Your subconscious brain, however, knows what you look like. How many people here thought about their expression today or walked around controlling it? But if I put a camera up in your face, all of the sudden you take control of your face and it gets weird, which is conscious control.”
“Everybody’s different in terms of how they behave in front of a camera,” Hurley continued. “The minute you put the camera in front of somebody they become ‘posers.’ You will put the camera in front of some people and there’s no change, it doesn’t affect them. If you can get the person thinking from their subconscious, I can capture them in the expressions only they can make. That only happens if they do not think about the camera.”
Hurley wrapped the conversation up by giving some additional advice on how to take a portrait.
“You have to imagine there is a hook in your head pulling your head up and you push your head forward to eliminate the double chin,” Hurley advised. “Then you give a small, closed mouth smile and use the “squinch” method to slightly close the bottom eyelid.”
Hurley demonstrated the realism that comes with finding a career and purpose in life. With his unfamiliarity of the logistics of a camera at first, he proved that what may seem impossible can be possible with motivation and drive.
Photographer Peter Hurley shares story and advice with students.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.