Bret Easton Ellis made his mark as a novelist and screenwriter who spotlights the darker, more twisted side of the City of Angels. With his latest movie ‘The Canyons’ he continues in that vain; the film stars a toxic mix of Lindsay Lohan and male porn star James Deen. Should be interesting!
We recently shot Bret for Der Spiegel, second time in fact for the same client. The first time, he challenged me, somewhat exasperatedly “Please shoot me in some different way in this apartment, we’ve done so may shoots here and shot every possible angle!” So for some reason i had him lay on the back of his couch. Not really sure where the idea came from, and how it was going to turn out, but i thought what the hell, at least it will mix things up! Turned out, Der Spiegel loved it! Haha, just shows, you never know. Portrait photography is all about pushing things for the heck of it. It has to be said, Bret was’nt too crazy about the idea, and got into position just enough for me to grab one frame, then he thought better of it, but by then, the shot was made.
For this, our current shoot, honestly, i don’t think he connected the dots that i’m the same guy who made him do that, but no matter, he’s actually a really chill guy, and pretty much game for anything once he fells your pretty cool too i guess. Anyway, we scouted his place, and i just loved the shafty window light hitting his bedroom. So we just made the shoot happen from there. Kinda works for a writer with a darker view of LA….i really should read one of his books one day, i think i’d like it.
We recently took a trip down to Solana Beach, just north of San Diego, California for a shoot with one of the hottest novelists around; Don Winslow. Don’s a private detective turned crime writer, and although originally from the New York area, his ‘thing’ centers on the US/ Mexican drug underworld, and the subcultures of the surf lifestyle. Hence his novel ‘Savages’, which Oliver Stone made into a movie this year. In fact we did a awesome with Oliver Stone just a couple of months ago for same movie’s release. More of that shoot to come in a later post.
Don’s an interesting guy, with a great story, and i highly recommend any of his work for reading materials. Thanks to Nick Hall at The Independent Magazine for such a great use of my images in the print version, but the entire article can be found online here
I decided to make a trip to Democratic Party Headquarters in Inglewood, South Central Los Angeles, a notoriously tough, yet deeply- rooted African American neighborhood, where i knew the Obama fervour would be high on the eve of such a historic day; the possible election of the first black US President. What a day it promised to be.
At the barbershop across the street, a popular local hangout, while still open for business everyone kept one eye on the TV with the other on the buzzcut, until the word finally came and the drinks began to flow.
But when the official results came through, and it finally seemed safe to allow oneself to truly believe what you’d previously dared not to, the emotions back at Democratic HQ were truly palpable. It was indeed a day in history. I’d like to thank everyone at Inglewood Democratic Party HQ for letting me witness it with them.
The Space Shuttle holds a special place in my heart. I was obsessed with Space travel from an early age, and yes, Astronaut was my first what-do-i-wanna-do-when-i-grow-up thing. Added to the fact i was born in the year Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. But the Space Shuttle in particular was exciting to me, because it was the first program i got to fully experience right from the beginning, so you can see how i’d built up a strong connection. It felt like my space program. In fact, one of my earliest school memories, when i was maybe 10 years old or so, we had to give a class demonstration on any subject of our choosing (a daunting prospect to any kid). As i considered myself somewhat of an expert on the Shuttle, naturally i chose it, focusing on the remarkable aspect that everything was re-useable. But what i specifically remember was when one class- mate asked the question “what do they do with their waste?”, i answered “They re-use it!”, not realising he meant their toilet waste. I now stood in front of a room full of howling class-mates! Thanks Space Shuttle. Good times. Anyway, it’s been a long journey, but she’s finally retired, and i was compelled to take a look at her last journey, which was without doubt one of her strangest, through the mean- streets of South Central L.A. Good on yer Space Shuttle, always interesting right to the end. It was great to see she still inspires hope and wonder wherever she goes though.
You may have heard about the movie ‘Won’t Back Down’ starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, about a couple of parents whose children attend a severely failing school, and are determined to change it for the better. It’s based on a true story about a school in LA, and in reality, those parents did not succeed in changing their school, but the parent trigger law was created as a result. The parents above however, did take on and beat their local school district in Adelanto near Victorville, CA, and in the process became the first group to enact the parent trigger law and take charge of their children’s schooling. Good for them.
We recently did a shoot for The Times magazine (UK) with uber-blogger and ‘Carrie Bradshaw‘ of today’s teen- generation Emma Koenig. As The Donald would say “she’s gonna be huge”! This is a screen- shot of the web version, actual tearsheet coming soon.
meanwhile…. the next morning, back home in Los Angeles, Clint Eastwood continues his unusual debate with President Obama…
“What’s that you say Mr. Obama? I made YOUR day, and it’s still only halftime in America?”
Thanks to Condoleezza Rice being one of the first women granted membership to Augusta National, we made the current cover of Golf World magazine. Shot on assignment for Golf Digest last year, Condi was a lot of fun to work with.
Just in time for The Masters, here’s a shoot we did a few weeks ago for Golf World’s backspin issue with 1968 Masters Champion Bob Goalby. Shot at his home in Palm Springs, we asked Bob to take himself back to the 18th at Augusta. He beautifully relived the moment for us, allowing me to recapture that feeling of pure joy and satisfaction.