Brinson+Banks on photographing comedian Patton Oswalt, who’s slowly making his way back after the untimely death of his wife, for The New York Times

Comedian Patton Oswalt poses for a portrait at the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California October 14, 2016. Photo by Kendrick Brinson

Comedian Patton Oswalt. Photo by Brinson+Banks for The New York Times.

 

“You can say I’m pretty obsessed with comedy, so I’m always very intrigued when I get to interact with comedians,” says Kendrick Brinson of Brinson+Banks. “This story was a little different, though, because Patton Oswalt is becoming a different comedian through his grief at the sudden loss of his wife.

“I come from a family that copes through humor,” she continues, “and I find it so admirable that one of the things pulling Patton forward and helping him process this deep pain and grief is making people laugh, even about the hard stuff. That might be one of the more beautiful things a person can do in my eyes, is to bring light to others.”

Kendrick had read Oswalt’s emotional Facebook post on his wife’s death back in August—“and I cried when I read it”—so she knew his story when The New York Times called Brinson+Banks to photograph him two and a half months later.

“David and I started our photography careers at newspapers, so we know how to handle just about any situation photographically, from floods to funerals to football. Still, it’s an interesting (nerve-wracking) task to shake a stranger’s hand, knowing their story is currently about the uprooting absence of another, and to delve right into vulnerability in record speed.

“From start to finish, this shoot took only five minutes. We shot him in a public area of the Chateau Marmont bar and a sitting area. But I was lucky to see the serious side of Patton and a hint of his cheeky side. He was kind and gracious, and I tried to make him comfortable as possible from the very start. I hope that comes across in these images.

“And y’know what? He made me laugh on the way out.”

Read the New York Times story: Patton Oswalt: “I’ll Never Be at 100 Percent Again”

 

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