PDN Photo of the Day

The Music Mogul Who Discovered Bob Marley

New York City-based photographer João Canziani was hired by Men’s Journal to shoot Island Records-founder Chris Blackwell in Jamaica for their January 2014 issue. Blackwell, who formed the company in 1959, lives in Jamaica. The story’s headline and intro says it all: “The Barefoot Mogul: Chris Blackwell discovered Bob Marley, signed artists from Traffic to U2, and pioneered a new style of chic travel with his hotels in Miami and Jamaica. At 76, he runs his empire from a one-room bungalow on the beach – and he still doesn’t own a suit.” Canziani didn’t know too much about the “barefoot mogul” but learned quite a lot about him after a few days. Canziani explains to PDN via e-mail, “He’s had quite a fascinating life.” He notes we should all read the article. Throughout their time together, they did a few setups, and some were lit just a little bit by a portable flash. The image of Blackwell on the Jet-ski and a headshot were not. “Because this was Jamaica and I had heard horror stories of photo equipment getting stuck in customs, I had decided to only travel with a couple of cameras and a small flash.” The headshot of Blackwell (second image in the gallery) was taken at dusk by his infinity pool overlooking the ocean. “It was very quickly getting very dark, and as we lit him with the flash the pictures just started looking horrible to me; just too ‘lit’ and unnatural. I asked my assistant to turn the flash off and I fired a couple of shots in almost complete darkness. I thought the picture wasn’t going to turn out…I was panicking a little bit in fact, thinking that I wasn’t really getting anything. Lo and behold I’m so happy with it. I love that he is almost part of the sea, a quickly disappearing act.”

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