Sunday Focus: Dan Bannino

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Noir Stills – Following and Being Followed

Once again, the wonder of the Internet comes through.

A few weeks ago I was tooling around. Not sure if it was Twitter or Tumblr or something like that.

But I came across these INCREDIBLE noir images. Stopped me in my tracks. Made me stop scrolling, as the kids say (and that’s now the goal of web content creation – make someone stop scrolling and SEE what you put out there.)

Well the images of Dan Bannino made me stop. I look at  a lot of images, images that are supposed to be “noir,” images that think they are noir. But they really aren’t. Something the photographer slaps a fedora on a guy’s head, make it black & white and call it noir. Sometimes it’s in color (that’s fine) but it’s garishly lit and looks more like a commercial shoot for a piece of candy. Or then they go all Dan Winters effect and think that does it to make an image look “noir”.

Dan Bannino doesn’t go either of those routs and it’s a good thing. There is something about Dan’s noir images that made me stop and look, really look.

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Noir Stills – Everybody’s Got Something To Hide

Dan’s noir photos are meticuliously planned yet also have the appearance of happenstance. Like you just walked in on something. Some settings ( a gas station – a favorite of myself) didn’t surprise me. Others (a Burger King) did.

Dan, a young man who now lives about an hour outside of Turin, Italy, where he was born,  makes it all work, and incredibly so. Then I delved deeper into his portfolio and really liked what I found from his other portfolios as well A little web research turned up a Huffington Post profile of him and his shelter dogs project. And this piece on his Still Diets project.

Dan Bannino

Dan Bannino – Self Portrait

Dan has incredible vision and production skills. His image and workflow intrigued me. Thanks to the Internet (and Dan being a super nice guy), I was able to reach out to him and start a conversation. Then I thought “Hey, I should do a Sunday Focus on him! I haven’t done them in awhile….”

Wow, has it really been five years since the last one???? Sheesh.

In any case, I emailed Dan about my plan to do this feature, and he graciously said he’d answer some questions for me (and for you, dear readers) about his work and and his focus.

And so…on to the Sunday Focus With Dan Bannino….


JSP Q: Canon, Nikon or Other?
DB: First camera I was shooting with was a Canon, then I moved to Nikon. I’m a happy 5D Mark III owner, but last year Nikon Europe reached me out for a collaboration and from that project I became Nikon Ambassador.

JSP Q: Camera eye? (i.e which eye do you use to look through the viewfinder with)
DB: Right eye, but sometimes I prefer using the live viewer to work better on the composition.

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Noir Stills: Dining With Murder

JSP Q: Do you come from a photographic background?
DB: I never attended any photography’s school or courses, other photographers and great
masters of photography are my everyday inspiration, alongside with painters especially
Old Masters as Caravaggio.

JSP Q: Is photography your career? If not, what is?
DB: Photography is my calling. Three years ago I moved to London for pursuing my intention of becoming a full time photographer. After working as a product photographer, shooting objects everyday, I decided to quit and move back in Italy, to concentrate on personal projects. Today, I am working 24/7 as a photographer, yet still trying to making my way among all those talented photographers, regularly working on editorial assignments and etc.

JSP Q: What do you consider is your photographic path?
DB: I started moving professionally into photography shooting only objects creating still life (see that link to Dan’s Still Diets set) especially with food, but I quickly felt
the urge of exploring other subjects, from dogs to actual people. I always like to
experiment and challenge myself, pushing my photography to the next level, but trying to
keep a certain consistence with colors and moods.

JSP Q: How do feel you were able to develop your own brand of photographic storytelling?
DB: Behind great pictures there are always great ideas. Similarly, behind every shoot there
are days, weeks, and even months of research. Everyday life, books, movies and online
news always give me huge inspiration for telling a story. I also find inspiration from books,music, movies and of course I like to spend a bunch of time visiting exhibitions since I’m a huge art lover. Inspiration for the next photo can be just around the corner.

JSP Q: Tell me about the production that goes into your Noir Stills series.
DB: I always start a new series with the aim of telling a story. Noir Stills is a work inspired by 1940s-60s great noir movies’ directors (Alfred Hitchcock, Carol Reed and Billy Wilder). I’ve developed these shootings with the purpose of making the public an eyewitness to my
narrative, I didn’t want to define viewers’ thoughts with a plot or a story line, but at the
contrary I wanted to leave them freedom to create their own ideas, without influencing
the feelings an image could give.

JSP Q: So you are your a big film noir fan? Which are your favorites?
DB: I am, totally. As said I am an avid crime stories reader and I old movies full
of beautiful details, amazing actors and so many inspiring visions.
My fav..I think I would say Rear Window, The Third Man and The Apartment
even if it’s not noir genre- for pictures (I think it actually won an Oscar for
that. Ed note: It did win Best Picture in 1961.)

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Niche of Wonders – Alice Cooper

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Niche of Wonders – Nixxi Sixx

JPS Q: What’s next for Dan Bannino?
DB: At the moment I’m working on promoting my latest series, probably the most boring part, but at the same time the more delicate and fundamental nowadays. And of course, I’m brainstorming for the next project!

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Niche of Wonders – Frank Sinatra

Many thanks to Dan for taking some time to answer some questions for JSP. Please check out more of his work on Instagram and Tumblr. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Also, watch this video about Dan and shelter dogs project.

If you have any questions for Dan, please leave them in comments.

All images in this post are copyright Dan Bannino and cannot be used without permission.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016


Contest: Caption This!

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“Ok, ok, don’t get grumpy. This time I’LL be the tortoise, YOU be the hare.”

Pretty remarkable. You take someone from 200 years ago and drop them into 2016, and they couldn’t survive.

You take one of these guys from 200 years ago and drop him into 2016 and he’s say “Got a pond? A lake? Some mud? Ok, I’m good.”

Came across this fella while out for a trail run earlier this week. He was a big one. Me and another guy watched him for a while. While the road wasn’t too busy, we didn’t want him to get squashed. Eventually we helped his efforts to get to the other side where the pond was.

So, let’s have some fun. My caption is above. Drop your caption into the comments section below and you’ll win a signed JerseyStyle photo postcard, with a cool stamp, from JerseyStyle Photography.

Contest closes at 12 midnight on April 25, 2016. I’ll be the judge.

Let’s have some fun. Go!

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016

Friday Noir: Blood Like Oil

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Laying there, he could hear the low moan of the tugboat in the Delaware River. A fine mist was coming down, making the cobblestones slick.


Just a few hours ago, he sat at the counter at Frank’s.

The gat was up under his arm while he nursed a cup of black coffee and toyed around with a plate of eggs and hash.

The newspaper was folded over in front of him. Not much to read, none of it good anyway.

No news of the heist, that for sure.

All went smooth as silk.

Now it was just a matter of time – tomorrow they’d split the look and he could split for good.

One last job. Then packing up and heading south.

He can kick the muck from this beat-down town and start fresh someplace else.

The deuce with the big engine and fat tires was waiting right outside.

Didn’t expect that kid with the blade to bust in.

Stuck him right under ribs.

All for a few measly bucks.

If only the kid knew what was in the trunk.


His blood glistened like oil as it leaked down the gutter.

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016






National Library Week

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It’s National Library Week this week.

It’s true. That’s a thing nowadays.

When was the last time you were in a library? With the acceleration of e-books, I often wonder how much libraries get used any more.

When I was a kid, libraries were magical to me. In grade school, we’d go on Friday afternoons, a nice way to head into the weekend.

I’d look for the latest Hardy Boys book, or take out – again – this book on codes and ciphers that I loved (I had forgotten about this book, then  came across an piece about the guy who wrote it in the Wall Street Journal a few years ago…and now can’t remember it again.)

Or, in the summer, my dad would take us to the library on Monday evenings…but only if was raining. Odd, I know. But when we went, my sister and I would get lost in the stacks, eventually coming out  with four or five books apiece.

My kids, like Matt above, like to go to the library too, though sometimes it’s to pick out a movie. The Allentown Public Library in town here was first a church dating back to 1879, then became a library in 1984.

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(Scale Model. Not the real Allentown Library)

Not very big but still a nice quiet place with some cool old goodies tucked away.

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But, with more people reading e-books, the library is still in fashion…even the Little Free Libraries. Have you seen these? Here’s one I found in Forty Fort, Pennsylvania.

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And another one in Asbury Park, New Jersey, late last year…

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I think this is a super-cool idea, something I’ve sorta been doing for awhile. When I travel, if I finish a book on the road, I’ll leave it in the nightstand for the next person to find. When I was just in Mexico in February, the resort had a “leave a book, take a book” program. I finished A Lesson In Secrets and picked up The Road. Can’t do that with an e-book on your Kindle!

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Go visit your local library this week. No telling what you’ll discover!

(c)Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | 2016





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