Blair Bunting's Aaron Hernandez Photos Taken Mere Hours After Athlete Allegedly Shot a Man

Blair Bunting's Aaron Hernandez Photos Taken Mere Hours After Athlete Allegedly Shot a Man

Update:  Aaron Hernandez has now been found guilty of 1st degree murder.  If you're a sports fan, you probably know the huge scandal unfolding right now surrounding Aaron Hernandez, the former NFL star who was recently released from the New England Patriots. He is now under arrest for a murder that happened on June 14, but last February he allegedly shot a man in the face, a man who survived and is now suing him for it. Thing is, the EXIF data on images recently released by Fstoppers contributor Blair Bunting show the photo shoot took place only a few hours after that alleged shooting. Freaky.

Blair Bunting, if you didn't already know, photographs some of the biggest names in sports. He has recently shown his strategy and lighting arrangement that he did on a major campaign. One of his shoots back in February featured Aaron Hernandez:


Aaron Hernandez Blair

Aaron Hernandez


Also back in February, Hernandez allegedly shot a man in the face, causing serious injury. According to reports, "the victim was discovered outside of a John Deere store in Riviera Beach, FL on Feb 13 around 6:48 AM." Now if we look at the EXIF data of Blair's images, we can see that Hernandez was in Blair's studio only hours after the alleged shooting. Basically, enough time to clean up, get his act together, arrange his entourage, get on a plane to Phoenix (where Blair's studio is) and arrive at the shoot.


exif data aaron hernandez mainexif data aaron hernandez


"When I recently photographed Aaron, it was in the midst of a crazy nonstop schedule of shoots that saw me become almost mechanical in my approach to shooting and interacting with people in general. I have found that in times of great stress and responsibility, becoming solely focused on the objective is the best way to maintain the quality of work needed for a large ad campaign production. It just so happens that the day I was photographing Aaron, I was also photographing another NFL player, a MLB player, a professional Ironman athlete and a profession runner...

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"Everything had been great, although one of the athletes had left me stressed out of my mind, so much so that I sent an assistant out to grab beer for everyone on set [while waiting for the last athlete to arrive]. Not knowing what to expect, I prepared for the worst knowing that the only person left to photograph was Aaron Hernandez. Then some guy shows up at the studio and starts chatting with one of the assistants, who then brings him to me and introduces himself, it was Aaron. Now at this point, I wish I could say that myself and the creative director were not dressed in complete football uniforms (shoulder pads and all), but we were. Nonetheless, it made for a great laugh and a very fun icebreaker, not to mention a video of me doing the Harlem Shake that is still floating around the agency. Back to Aaron, he was excited to be a part of the photoshoot and in a very calm way just asked for direction and he would make it happen. With his enthusiasm towards the shoot, the only thing we would need to do is to tell him not to smile during the action shots (and yes he accidentally did smile a couple times, they all do)."

bb bts hernandez

"With everyone working together so well on set, it only took about ten minutes of the allotted two hours to get all the shots we needed. When a subject is grateful to be photographed, the shoots are usually very short as the photographer’s job is to get the image and not waste their time. Even with images being added on the fly, we still called a very early wrap on set and brought the beers back out to celebrate a shoot well done. I talked with Aaron about his background, where he grew up and joked about other players in the league. He was kind and soft spoken, and joked about other players in the league and my inability to play sports whatsoever."

hernandez behind the scenes 2 1

From Blair's account, we can see that Aaron handled himself amazingly well if the allegations against him are true. Just crazy how the guy can be chill and level-headed so shortly after an alleged shooting. It's a classic example of "you think you know someone."

All images and quotes used with permission.
Original story via Blair Bunting's blog.

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Great read. The one thing that stands out to me is that I want to know who the stressful athlete was.

What a surreal trip it is to have been in the studio that day. Blair is totally right that Aaron was the best possible subject to shoot; super happy and into it all. If the charges are true, it's still hard to wrap my head around how someone can be so cheery only hours after using a gun in anger

"...allegedly shot a man" is enough for an article these days. No need to wait for it to actually be proven and fact. Scary times.

Clearly a Florida Gators fan....... Dude is suspected of three homicides and the guy who got shot in the face ID'd Hernandez as the guy who shot him. What more do you need? I would say this is a pattern with this guy and it is a story so yeah I would say allegedly would be enough.

That's why it says "allegedly" - because it's an allegation. And no there is no need to wait - the allegation is the story. Nothing scary about that, it's very normal in fact.

Tony Carter's picture

EVERYONE has different sides to them....photographers especially should know that ;) But in all honesty, people are behave differently depending on varying externals or situations, and often in split-seconds. I tend to notice that those who are hardcore at good things also tend to be hardcore at bad things...which defines their character.

And now he has been charged with murdering his friend after the two had a dispute during a trip to a nightclub. Crazy.

Jaron Schneider's picture

Well, he hasn't been convicted yet, so at this point it's still a scandal that's ruining his career.

The man obviously wanted a better mug shot....

Andrew Griswold's picture

Jeez that is creepy as hell, that last photo of Blair snapping that shot just a few feet away from Hernandez is chilling. How unknowingly you were relaxed and photographing someone that just killed a man. Just crazy

I do not understand this type of self adverts. This is really cheap and i think it has no place on this type of media.

Now these photos are nothing more then those of another arrogant athlete, with a $40 million dollar contract, who once again, thought he could get away with murder!