J R grew up in a darkroom; an autodidact to image-making. Learning the craft alongside his father who is also a photographer, J R honed his style and technique. His work regularly pays tribute to some of his major influences: Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and filmmakers Stanley Kubrick and Eric Rohmer.
His images evince a perfectionist approach to lighting. The play on chiaroscuro as visual trope is present in many of his most recent works. "I'm so intrigued by the lighting used in Renaissance painting because these works allude to the concurrent architecture," says J R, "a painting may show light in certain areas, in a particular manner, solely because the window in the painter's room was placed higher and is deeper than what's customary today ― I try to achieve the same contextual motivations in my photograph."
Photography can be a lonely profession and J R was drawn to the collaborative spirit behind commercial and editorial shoots in the fashion world. Seeking the chance to work with a creative team, J R delved into the realm of fashion and his work has since been seen in a variety of Canadian fashion publications, including FLARE, ACF Magazine, and Trends. In 2012, Bernstein was chosen as one of Piccsy's "30 Photographers from Toronto You Should Know About." J R also sits on the executive board of the Fashion Group International, Toronto chapter, as artistic director.
J R Bernstein's future looks something like that of a seasoned photographer with many accolades. He plans on expanding his reach and recognition within the industry through collaboration with fellow creatives. His love for travel photography is an interest he hopes to marry with his work in fashion. He is nostalgic and forward thinking in the same breath ― and I truly believe J R Bernstein will achieve great things in the medium of photography. I can only hope to further collaborate with him as his career blossoms.
Justine Iaboni, fashion writer and entrepreneur.