His subjects, he says, have compared sitting for him to ”going to the dentist. But in a good way. Not having root canal. Maybe just having X rays done.”

In other words, Dan Winters can see right through you — or more precisely, right into you. He’s not one to flit around the studio chanting ”Work with me!” He stalks his celebrity quarry — his best-known work, though his portfolio includes photojournalism, music videos, and ads — with quiet, probing determination.

That resolve began at age 10 when he started making pictures with a movie camera once owned by his grandfather. ”I made army movies,” he says. ”I dressed up my brothers, built mini tanks.” The results are what urged him to hone his skills. ”We’d film [these models] and they were underexposed. So I thought I should learn something.”

Winters, 38, recently moved from L.A. to a small town outside Austin. ”I didn’t want to hang out in Hollywood when I was off,” he says of his retreat with wife Kathryn and son Dylan, 7. ”And I want my son to grow up in the country.”

In his portraits, Winters prefers to treat faces as found objects. His ethos: ”Stand right there and I’ll record you. You’re an object reflecting light.” And, as these images demonstrate, a lot of that light comes from Winters.