Portrait session with a leader
I took a deep breath after hanging up the phone receiving confirmation to photograph Kristine Braden for the next Sphere Financial Magazine cover. I had the feeling this portrait session is going to be special, very special.
This is neither the first time I’m photographing personalities in the financial industry nor the first time taking a portrait of a woman. This time, it will be the first time I will be photographing a women e leader in the finance industry: Kristine Braden, CEO of Citibank Switzerland, she is also the first and only board female member of the over 100-year-old Swiss Bankers Association.
Doing online research and getting to know the person is the first step in the preparation process. For every Sphere magazine cover, we feature a CEO of a Swiss bank on a an Eero Aarnio Ball Chair, and I always challenge myself to find a way to combine this chair with the personality of the subject and the brand that he/she is representing to make the cover portrait a “Wow”. Working on color scheme is never easy – finding the color scheme that fits with the personality of the subject and the brand behind. American contemporary graphic designer Paula Scher created the current Citibank logo after the Citicorp-Travellers Group merger, blue is the key color but the red coming from the umbrella of Travellers is also important.
In the mean time I contacted Citibank Switzerland PR head Yvonne Chan to schedule the time slot and to share the idea. We had a great conversation and even discovered our common love and passion for China. Taking a portrait is teamwork, and the moment when Kristine Braden and Yvonne Chan walked into my studio I felt all the essential elements were present. Reciprocal respect, openness, commitment. I knew I’ve got two very good team-players to make it happen. This is not always the case, taking a good portrait is such a fine balance on letting it go, influencing, guiding or interfering.
It was a one-hour portrait session (but think about how much it means to have one hour from such a person). I would like to sit on a couch and talk with her about the world, the unusual political situation, impact and consequences of digitization, or even block-chain because this is an interesting moment we are living in. The reality is we discovered we are both sailing enthusiasts, but soon afterwards we had to start shooting – time is always short. One hour seems long, but it was just right for what we had to do.
The latest Sphere Magazine was published a few days ago and I simply love these photos of Kristine Braden, a smart and attractive business woman.
I had the pleasure to photograph portraits of several personalities in the past years, every single time was an unique moment. I feel so privileged to have these opportunities to work with such great people.
After the shooting, Kristine sent me a message, “It was a blast shooting with you.” And yes, this message made my day even better.
Thank you Kristine, and thank you Yvonne. Thank you for making and being part of this magic moment.