Who is LAZARUS?
“It was makeup that led me to photography” says Lazarus Baptiste, a gifted world class makeup artist turned cityscape photographer.
Lazarus was born in Port-au-Prince Haïti and immigrated to Brooklyn, New York in 1981 at the age of 11. Fluent in English, French, Haïtian Creole and conversational in Spanish, it is perhaps the combination of those 4 languages that make his slight accent hard to place. “I started makeup in 1994 and photography in ’96. For a while, I did both but when I was offered the opportunity to co-design the Philippe Privé cosmetics line, I chose to focus on makeup and put my Minolta away.” The decision paid off. In 1999, the Philippe Privé line was picked up by Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City with Lazarus’ artistry and savvy on full display. His makeup career took off as new doors opened for him. Lazarus was a design contributor on two other prestigious makeup brands, taught technique at the Academy of Freelance Makeup and embellished the faces of celebrities and super models for numerous magazine editorials, fashion shows and beauty brands. Having proven himself as a top makeup artist, the esteemed Bryan Bantry Agency signed on to represent him leading to numerous TV appearances as himself, and to his self-publishing a book about his career.
By December 2012 Lazarus had done everything he wanted to do in makeup, it was time to pick up the camera again but, so much time had passed. “Minolta is Sony now and film is digital.” He dedicated 2013 to learning digital photography and post processing. The past 4 years have been committed to the NYCANDI project. Lazarus never took a class in photography but as an autodidact he understood how he learned best.
“The World Wide Web University is my school of choice. With the internet, I can learn what I want, when I want, from a near infinite supply of forums, articles and instructional videos.”
He lists Fan Ho, Gordon Parks, William Klein, Brassaï, Hugh Bell and Ansel Adams among his photography heroes. “I believe the lessons and skills from 24 years in makeup are exactly what make my approach to photography unique. My lenses and cameras have replaced my makeup brushes and beauty products. The New York skyline is my supermodel now.” says Lazarus with a smile. “As a makeup artist a beautiful model would sit in front of me and I had to re-imagine her in a way that would tell a story and make her look spectacular. Now... I walk up to a beautiful location and re-imagine it with the streets wet from rain, cumulus clouds in the sky, and the sun at a 170-degree angle during the golden hour because that is the story I want to tell. My challenge is to figure out when that moment will happen and make sure I am there to capture it. Truly the the most significant change is that I am the photographer now and nature is my makeup artist!”
ABOUT THE WORK
UHDR2 (Ultra High Dynamic Range and Resolution) is how Lazarus describes his photography. He separates his NYCANDI [pronounced N.Y.C and I] collection into two distinct categories; “Haute-Couture” and “Ready to Show”. The “Ready to Show” images are single frame, often multiple-shot high-resolution images that are intended to be printed no smaller than 17 inches high. These images are for any home or office environments. The “Haute-Couture” images are typically multiple-frame, multiple-shot images in ridiculously high resolution. They are usually panoramic and should never be printed less than 24 inches high. The “Haute-Couture” is for those with huge amounts of wall space and for corporate clients as art installations.
“Photography is my therapy. It is my quiet time…
my alone time with God.”
Lazarus is responsible for every aspect of his imagery, but one… “Printing is the only part of the process that I entrust to someone else so I am super particular as to who I let print my work – you don’t just leave your babies with anyone!” Lazarus works very closely with Stefan Fiedler of “Salon Iris” in Vienna. Stefan was responsible for printing and exhibiting Lazarus’ very first gallery collection.
“When all is said and done my images are about making you stop. Stop and take a look at the beautiful things around you. Stop and enjoy a moment that will never happen again in the history of time. Stop and see as I see. Stop is the gift of photography to me and the gift I pay forward to you.”