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Shutterstock Portrait Series: John Cornicello at CreativeMornings/Seattle

For the last three years with Shutterstock, we worked with photographers to capture the spirit of CreativeMornings' attendees in chapters around the world. Together, we’ve collected over 2,000 portraits.

A good portrait tells the truth about a person in that moment in time—not the whole truth, but close to it. It’s an intimate dynamic that requires connection, patience, and acuity of that person’s spirit.

To further appreciate the beautiful portraits, we interviewed each photographer about their work.


Meet John Cornicello, portrait photographer for CreativeMornings/Seattle.


What is it about portraiture that inspires you?

I am inspired by the people I get to meet. For me, portraiture is more of a process than the product. I enjoy the interaction with the subject and the collaboration. Yes, the final image is important, but the process of getting there is the magical part for me.

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Portraiture is a personal exchange—how do you get your subjects to open up? What do you say or do?

Getting someone to open up can be a challenge. For me, I like to distract the subject to make them stop thinking about the camera. I might just say some non-sensical things to confuse them and make them break out of the deer-in-the-headlights look. If I can get them to laugh, I try to catch the residual smile after the laugh.

At what moment do you know you successfully captured someone’s spirit or personality? How do you know?

I don’t always know. But I can usually feel something in the viewfinder when I think I got it. Hard to explain. I sometimes make expressions behind the camera that I want from the subject, even if they can’t see me. When I feel that I got the look I was trying to give, it clicks.

What advice would you give to people just picking up a camera, ready to explore the wonderful art of photography?

Have fun. Carry the camera everywhere. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. Move around and explore angles and perspective. Did I say, Have fun?!

See the rest of the CreativeMornings/Seattle portraits!


Discover more of John’s work on his website or Instagram!

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