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Nick Rasmussen’s Path to Portrait Photography

By Summer Wilson

Nick Rasmussen moved from Michigan to Los Angeles about nine years ago to attend film school. He became an improv student and performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade; for money, he shot photos for an estate sale company. Today, instead of photographing people’s knick-knacks, he takes people’s portraits as a way to connect with them. Because Rasmussen has been surrounded by comedians, many of his early photography subjects were actors and professional funny people.  

We filmed Nick as he did a shoot with actor Paul Hauser, a ham sandwich, and a few Doberman Pinschers. Click the image above to play the video.

Rasmussen brings several cameras on a shoot, typically starting with a digital camera and then switching to large-format film cameras. A small closet in his living room serves as a makeshift dark room for cutting and loading negatives, and he develops the negatives in his kitchen sink. Once dry, he scans them and brings the scans into Adobe Photoshop for digital editing.

Nick Rasmussen's portraits of David Oyelowo (left) and Lauren Lapkus (right).

Always pushing his comfort zone and learning new things, Rasmussen feels like he’s a little past the beginning of his career. He's not content for his portrait photography to exist solely on the Internet. “The struggle with a lot of this art stuff is you can make it and you can feel good about it, but what do you do with it? How do you make something that goes beyond the Internet?” He’s still working on it. For now, you can see his work on Instagram.

Rasmussen's portraits of Kerry Kenney (left) and Kate Micucci (right).

Rasmussen's portrait session with Paul Feig.