Kadu – featuring James Dean

Do you know James Dean, Kadu asked me, when we were talking about his shooting session.

Kadu is a professional model from Brazil, who already walked for Armani and other famous brands, and he also had appearances on TV. 

Sure I know James Dean. I am old. But how does Kadu know?   Kadu is in his early twentieth, so how does he know James Dean?

And what does James Dean stand for, which makes him known to a generation born almost a century after him? I tried to imagine that for the preparation of the shooting. What is it, the images should tell the viewer?

It is the rebellion, which made James Dean famous far beyond his death. It is also the style, he dressed. But just copying the styling, does not create an attractive image any more. Times have changed and so did photography and image perception. Generating a James Dean feeling with a today’s viewer, requires a different approach. 

Black and white images can support a vintage style, but in this case I did not think, this alone is appropriate. I used black and white with a non standard crop and a high level of clarity as well as shallow depth of field. In a low key environment and dramatic lighting, the desired effect could be reached. For colored images I decided to go with a strong blue and red lighting environment, obviously created by neon tubes, but actually done with gels on high power LLED lights.

We had Kadu wearing a white t-shirt together with a Saint Laurent vintage style used look leather jacket. We put up the collar to make it look rebellious. In today’s world this is not rebellious at all, but when done with that motor cycle rocker type of jacket, it is still such a strong symbol of rebellion.

We also did some more settings with different back grounds and garments, to create some variety for Kadu’s model portfolio continuing using the red and blue lighting.


I am pleased with the results and thankful having had Kadu for a shooting. 

We also shot video sequences for an image video for him. Let’s see how this turns out. I will show you, once it’s finished!