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Interview with Bryan Nevin and Christopher Van Etten, part two of two

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Part one of two.

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Both Bryan and Christopher believe in what they do and the ambiance they create on both sides of the lens. Here you can learn more about the vision of their work and of their person.

How does being an amputee change your way of life? What is the difference on how you see life?

Christopher: Well the physical changes are pretty obvious, but the biggest changes were mentally. I was a pretty angry guy before the incident. I didn’t really care much about anything and took a lot of things for granted. After my injury, I started re-evaluating my life and decided that life was too short and fragile to always be angry. It wasn’t easy at first by any means, but I did my best to look at things positively and never took anything for granted.

Why do you consider that you were angry before the incident? Did something prompt your anger?

Christopher: Before my injury, I could only focus on the bad things going on in my life. Besides the daily stress of the Marine Corps, I was in a horrible marriage. I got married too young and right off the bat me and her started having problems.

How has modeling inspired you? What are you goals with modeling?

Christopher: Modeling has inspired me in a few ways. It showed me that I do have a gift to give to people, a source of inspiration. Every time someone tells me that I’ve helped push them though a struggle, it drives me that much more to keep doing what I do. My goals with modeling are simple, I want to inspire and motivate. I want people to look at my pictures and realize that anything is possible with hard work and a positive mindset.

How did you get in touch with Christopher?

Bryan: I first noticed Christopher on Facebook. Something about his story (and obviously his look) made me want to shoot him. I just knew that it had to happen so I emailed him (twice) and we finally got in touch and everything really flowed from there.

How did you start the conversation and what was the original plan of the session?

Bryan: I started with a simple "we should work together" type of email and over time we had a few Skype sessions to come up with a game plan of what we both wanted to accomplish. My shoots are rarely over-planned. I have to be face-to-face with the model and shoot what inspires me and what emotion I'm feeling in the moment. The only thing that is planned is a date/time and location; the rest just has to flow.

If you saw your work from the outside, how would you describe it? Walk me through a session, from beginning to end which are your steps?

Bryan: I think my body of work is really just getting started, keeping in mind I only began this journey in late 2012 with no experience, no training, and no formal schooling in photography. Having said that, my eye is drawn to the edgier side of things. I love photos that grab attention, but not in a cheap or slutty way. I want there to be emotion and a feeling behind the photo, regardless of whether or not the model is wearing anything.

Please share a moment when you were affirmed by a session or someone saying something about an image of you they saw.

Christopher: A big moment for me is when my mom sent me a message telling me of an older gentleman who I had helped without even knowing it. The man had lost his wife of 49 years and was having a hard time coping when he had seen of my pictures. I was told that after seeing me standing there unafraid and still fighting, it gave him a reason to keep living. After that, I knew what I was doing was helping.

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