From the Runway

SU student integrates hip-hop and fashion culture into photography

Connor Bahng | Staff Photographer

Larson Bodden, a senior exercise science major, said diversity is always at the center of the narrative he portrays because it reflects the makeup of the Bronx, his hometown.

For Larson Bodden, life has always looked better through the lens of a camera.

The New York City native was first introduced to photography in high school while working on the yearbook staff. Now Bodden is an active fashion photographer at Syracuse University, but he didn’t realize his hobby was actually a passion until his sophomore year.

“I started off shooting places and then transitioned to people,” said Bodden, a senior exercise science major. “It gives me the opportunity to meet new people and experience new places and new things and make a connection with people.”

With the passion came a need to practice. Since New York City hosts a significant artistic landscape, standing out among up-and-coming photographers took more than just snapping a nice picture. He practiced portrait photography in his city and with the diverse people who live in it.

“When I go back to the city, sometimes I leave the house 8 in the morning and don’t come back until 9 at night, and I just roam the city going around and shooting,” Bodden said. “I’ve met people while shooting. It’s like a connection. You have a camera, I have a camera — it’s an automatic conversation right there.”

It is that desire for a connection that made Bodden shift his creative inspiration from architectural structures to people. He started taking portraits of friends and has had the opportunity to photograph University Union concerts with artists like MadeinTYO and Russ. Since changing his vision, Bodden has started to expand his portfolio by practicing photography whenever and for whoever wanted to collaborate on his photography explorations at SU.

But for Bodden, it was hard to deny the realm of fashion photography. There was an overwhelming demand for photographers from models and fashion enthusiasts on campus. It took only a few photoshoots for his inbox to be filled with inquiries from these fashion enthusiasts to work with him.

“Within the last two years, there are so many people on campus that are doing, fashion modeling, photography and whatnot,” said Bodden. “I always have models hitting me up or if I have something in mind I hit them up and we make it work.”

With the growing presence of visual artists on campus also comes an increase in “welcomed competition” Bodden said. With students starting to pick up a lens, what matters is what creative spin he can put on a project to make his work stand out. He challenges himself to be able to see what other people may not see and bringing that to life.

In an effort to do just that, his latest project paid tribute to one of his favorite brands: Adidas. In a mock-up photo shoot with campus models, he channeled the aesthetic of Adidas campaigns with his own take on the brands overall look.

“His perspective is very unique and diverse, but at the same time he’s able to cater to his vast audience that extends beyond the Syracuse community,” said Ramona Yun, a senior public health major. “He has brought diversity to the fashion culture of our campus, making fashion fun, not frustrating.”

Coming from a hometown where diversity is always the center of a narrative, he can’t help but to bring out his “Bronxy-ness,” Yun said about his fashion work.

Being from the city where there is a cultural emphasis on hip-hop and fashion, Bodden sees the two worlds of fashion and music coming together now more than ever, something he said is hard to ignore and wants to bring to his work.

“It is a great thing to see”, he said. “A$AP Rocky is changing the game, so it’s great that it’s happening and we are getting new styles.”

Although most of his work stems from inspiration from his Big Apple roots, this photographer plans to take his passion for fashion photography to the West Coast, where street fashion is a dominant staple. With graduation just months away and Los Angeles and Seattle being possible destinations, he plans to use his degree in exercise science. But he would never pass up the opportunity to keep creating.

“These days you need have multiple talents, you need to be versatile,” Bodden said. “I think incorporating those two will be the best option for me.”

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