Sometime late last year, Bench, after months of billboard teasers hinting of the retail brand going somewhere in outer space, finally released images of pop star Bruno Mars. The photos showed the half-Filipino, half-Puerto Rican singer-songwriter in a variety of poses captured mid-movement: dancing, carousing on a city bike, tangoing with a stand-up mic or, essentially, just goofing around. The photos hinted of restless energy and mischievous swagger. Even just shot on a relatively plain brown background, many said that Bruno looked — literally and visually — larger than life. billboard
Young Star’s Raymond Ang reported that the campaign was shot in Los Angeles and was done in less than a few hours, conjointly with a video shoot and a media interview. People wondered if Bench had flown in a Filipino photographer for the shoot or had recruited the services of Bruno’s preferred lensman. Neither was the case.
The photographer behind Bruno’s Bench debut is Jiro Schneider, an LA-based photographer who was introduced to the Suyen group via Bruno’s sister Jamie. Jiro is also responsible for the campaigns featuring K-Pop band Superjunior’s Siwon and Donghae. (Bench flew him into Korea specifically for the shoot.) This time shot against more colorful backdrops, the images of the Korean heartthrobs were more cheerful renditions with laughing poses, ebullient smiles and pastel-colored clothing. But the energy that oozed from Bruno Mars’ campaign was still evident. It seems to be a recurring element in Jiro Schneider’s work.
“A lot of the portraits I do can be a little more fun, a little more different, unconventional. I like people to let loose and get a bit goofy — if they can,” affirms the half-Japanese, half-German photographer, who was flown into Manila recently to do a second session with also-visiting Donghae and Siwon. “I definitely approach shooting with a lot more energy. We didn’t have much time to shoot Bruno so I just went ahead and tried to do what I like to do, which is to feed back and forth on each other’s energy.”