If you are based in New York and find yourself at a swanky event downtown, most likely you will run into Leandro Justen. For three years he has been biking around town photographing rowdydowdy fashion, art and social events that later end up on A-list websites, magazines and even celebrity Facebook pages. But this Brazilian boy never saw success coming. As a matter of fact his dream was to become a professional volleyball player.
Leandro has played volleyball since he was a young boy in Brazil and applied to several big name schools in America for scholarships when it was time to head to college. The one that offered the most money was a small town school called Missouri Valley College. Off he went to the Mid-West to study and play. After two years he wanted to play in division one so he applied to bigger schools and was recruited at Brigham Young University where he also studied Broadcasting and Journalism.
After graduating in 2009, Leandro landed an internship with Dateline NBC and moved to New York City. “I really wanted to move to New York so it was a real dream come true,” Justen told us. He picked up his camera again and found himself more interested in shooting for himself than focusing on his internship. This led to a job with Patrick McMullan, an events photography agency. The move changed his entire New York experience and he quit his internship to focus on photography.
Leandro was shooting big events, fashion shows, and back stage at some of the most exciting parties in the city. As well he was working with designers, artists and other creatives that were really inspiring him. He transitioned to Billy Farrell Agency last fall where he continues to shoot top events but there, he also has time for his own studio work and portraiture. He is working with various magazines too. Recently he shot a feature on Walt Cassidy and DJ Juliana Huxtable for Baron Magazine. It will come out this spring.
For 2014 Mr. Justen is working on portraits and interviews on people he photographs in New York as well as shooting for BFA at New York, Paris and São Paulo Fashion Weeks. He is also very excited about a photo project in Cuba this summer. We would be too.
Below Leandro speaks to us about his personal style.
Pants: I wear lots of Levis 511. They fit well and look good. Also TopMan slim pants fit me well and I don’t have to alter them. That is my day to day.
Suit: If I am going to a nicer event I wear a slim cut suit from TopMan.
Shirts: I have a lot of shirts from all over. I just bought a bunch of new chambray shirts from Ralph Lauren. They go with everything and are very comfortable. I wear a lot from Uniqlo basic colors. Band of Outsiders makes a great shirt too. For dress shirts I have a couple of Jil Sander and Ralph Lauren. I also have a few from the Brazilian brand Osklen which are my go-to for summer shirts.
Outerwear: I have a big coat I wear a lot in this cold when I’m on my bike. It is a Margiela coat for H&M. I have a Marc Jacobs coat that is really long that works well too. I’ve been borrowing coats from a friend who has a lot from Jil Sander! The cut is great and fits well on the shoulder.
Shoes: I have a lot of Cole Haan’s for day to day. In the winter I have been wearing lots of boots. I never wore boots until I moved to New York! I have some Red Wing’s and a pair from a new designer called AMI since I don’t like proper snow boots. I wear New Balance a lot because I like the colors and they are comfortable. For formal occasions I switch between a pair of black Church’s and a pair of Calvin Klein.
Accessories: Im not really a big jewelry person. I don’t like anything on my arms. I do like Warby Parker sunglasses though. I just got some Kenzo sunglasses that are more fun and colorful. I have New Era baseball caps but they don’t keep me too warm in these freezing temps we have experienced lately!. Goorin Brothers makes a fun one too with a squirrel on it that says ‘Nuts’. I have been wearing lots of scarves by my friend Francisco Medina since it’s been so cold here! I also wear Timberland gloves since they work well for biking all over town.
What is your favorite app? It’s called Afterlight so I can add some great filters for images on Instagram. It’s like a photo shop app!
What is your favorite piece of technology? It’s my Mac Book Pro and I love it. It is fast and great for editing photos and I can take it anywhere.
What is your next tech purchase? I have been having to show my portfolio to a lot of editors so I need to buy an iPad so I can show my photos on there. They look so much better on a retina display. That’s my 2014 purchase!
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