- Brian Leighton
Now that you’re paying attention: Let’s note right off the bat that Brian Leighton is neither a scary sleaze nor a crystal-worshipping Woodstock refugee. He’s simply a friendly, hip-looking guy who explains that a powerful portrait sans clothes comes from “making people feel really good about themselves. It’s making somebody the subject of a piece of art.” That’s part of why clients trust him—needless to say, the vast majority aren’t regular models—and that’s how he makes such vividly imagined, crisp, personal black-and-white portraits. (At fine-art prices, too: He charges $1,000 per session for individuals and $1,600 for couples, and prints cost $25 to $250.) Leighton’s customers are 90 percent women, though the occasional male or couple will show up. (As did the production designers of Sex and the City: In the show’s fictionalized Vogue offices, Leighton’s photos—of clothed models—adorn the walls.) “The people who come to me are all in a good place,” he says, noting that his clients are often commissioning gifts for a partner. “Couples are the most fun.”
Best Nude Portrait Photographer
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).