NYC-based jewelry designer Bernard James recently released the 2022 ‘Family Portraits’ — an annual, ongoing series that started in 2020. Since its inception, James has used ‘Family Portraits’ as a visual platform to feature individuals that define and shape contemporary culture in their unique ways and that have inspired him on a personal level. Aside from creating fine jewelry for the stars and the stylish, James prioritizes the growing community built around his eponymous brand.
“Family Portraits became an annual activation for the brand because it was impossible to show gratitude for all of the brand’s friends, family, and supporters in one year,” James tells ESSENCE. “As the brand grows and evolves, I want to continue to appreciate and show love for the people that help shape its journey. I want to stress that despite it being eponymous, the brand is not about me, it is about the individuals that help shape and inspire it.”
This year, James chose to highlight 18 individuals that not only support the brand but have also made an influential impact across the creative industries. The list includes stylists, photographers, designers, writers, publicists, and more – some notable names include Matthew Henson, Quil Lemons, and Alexander Julian. However, when creating ‘Family Portraits,’ each subject is captured in their most natural essence as a representative act that James appreciates each individual for who they are at their core.
“Family Portraits was born out of the desire to highlight my closest friends and supporters of the brand, as I feel they are all extremely strong individuals and even stronger as a community,” he says. “This year, I wanted to highlight many of the people I respect for their subtlety and understated nature, despite their incredible talent.”
Discover the 18 individuals featured in Bernard James’ 2022 ‘Family Portraits.