Just in time for the Holidays, here’s just the thing for that person on your list who dreams of celebrity. Thanks to these Pappillowazzi cases from the ICP store they can sleep like a celebrity. At just 35 bucks how can you deny their celebrity dreams?
Does this look fun?
Fame is a funny thing. A lot of notions about fame and celebrity are based on which side of the velvet rope you find yourself.
There’s a great scene in Barry Levinson’s “PoliWood” where two actors shoot down any notion that Hollywood celebrities are motivated by the desire for photo ops.
Sure, it’s a necessary part of the business. Red carpet photo ops are one of the ways motion picture studios promote their latest releases. Just those 4-color flyers for your local hardware store.
But fun? I don’t think so…
Imagine running a gauntlet of this on your way into the movies.
Actually, to quite honest, the photographer who blasted me with his flash was extremely nice and quite personable. We ended up having a drink together. We were at a party, after all. If he seems more dapper than you’d imagine for a paparazzi, there’s a good reason for that. It’s actually actor Tim Daly giving me my 1/15 second of fame…
I attended the New York premiere of Barry Levinson’s film PoliWood at the Tribeca Film Festival with my friends from The Creative Coalition. The film both examines lobbying efforts by Hollywood celebrities as well as how the television media has changed since it’s origins as “profit” has overtaken “public service”.
While I was working on the book Art & Soul, I was invited to a rough cut screening while Levinson was editing his film. Watching the transformation from rough cut to release is a fascinating process if you’ve never seen it. After the rough cut screening I was asked by Levinson and producers Robin Bronk and Robert Baruc, for suggestions about what they should change. I must say that I thought the idea of giving “notes” to the Oscar-winning director of Rainman may seem absurd.
Levinson wasn’t after a critique of camera angles. He wanted to know how he could better communicate his message.
Better Communicate Your Message
Can’t we all learn from that? If an Oscar-winning director like Barry Levinson wants to know how to communicate better, shouldn’t we all?
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W300
We’re in New York shooting portraits of celebrities for the book ‘Art & Soul‘ with The Creative Coalition and Sony. Assignments this good are really rare. Even though I’ve been l blessed with more than my share of unbelievable assignments in my career, shooting portraits of so many Oscar winners, Tony winners, Grammy winners and Emmy winners was about as cool gig as I can imagine.
Photographing a portrait of Anne Hathaway is an experience that can hardly be topped, except when Anne showed up at our shoot with a box of her favorite cupcakes for our crew. Thanks Annie for being even sweeter than I’d imagined. Thanks also to Anne’s hair stylist Ted Gibson. Not only is Ted one of the top stylists in the country, but he knows how to work a wind machine…
After that we headed uptown to Tony Bennett’s Central Park apartment where we talked about what the arts has meant to him, both as a singer and as an artist. Tony credits Frank Sinatra for giving his career a big break. As a way of giving back Tony founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in his hometown of Astoria, Queens.
In the end we shot over 9,000 images and 350 gigs of RAW data without a single slowdown or problem. During the shoots, the artists in this book and I rarely spoke of fame, fortune or fabulous performances. We spoke about their childhoods and what led them to where they are today. Regardless of whether they grew up in small towns and large cities, rich or poor, their lives were all shaped and influenced by the arts and the artists who influenced their careers.
My thanks go out to Ted Okada, Steve Sommers, Phil Lubell, Kristen Elder and Mark Weir of Sony for their support of this project, Kayla Lindquist, director of Sony Artisans of Imagery program, Jeffrey Roberts of American PHOTO, Al Silvestri, Alissa Reynolds and Anna Martin of Hachette Filipacchi Media, Eileen Gittins of Blurb, and special thanks to Robin Bronk and Barbara Horvath of The Creative Coalition.
I’ve just wrapped a three-day shoot at Haven House in Beverly Hills photographing portraits of celebrities with The Creative Coalition during Oscar Week thanks to the generous sponsorship of Sony and Hachette Filipacchi Media.
Our crew included my wife Fazia who always makes certain everyone looked fabulous on our shoots, Kayla Lindquist, Director of Sony’s Artisans of Imagery program, produced the shoot and made certain even the smallest detail was under control, Matthew Schulert, our fabulous digital tech from Splashlight never missed a beat through 5,370 exposures, Joel Warren and Eddie Tricomi and over a dozen hair and make-up artists from Warren-Tricomi.
We photographed 68 celebrities over a three-day period in Los Angeles where we shot 5,370 exposures with over 200 gigs of raw images using Sony’s a900 camera. That’s a great test of the durability and quality of a camera. The a900 never missed a beat.
The lenses are quite simply the sharpest lenses I’ve ever used. I love all of Sony’s Zeiss glass, but I’m becoming particularly fond of Sony’s Zeiss 24-70/2.8. I was able to shoot very quickly on this project using that lens to shoot 90% of the images for the book. This lens is sharper than prime lenses in that range and it absolutely blows away the competition. The remaining images for the book were shot with Sony’s Zeiss 85/1.4 that I kept mounted on second a900 body.
When you imagine shooting in a Beverly Hills mansion, you can only envision big massive rooms. Yet our shoot was relegated to a less than opulent 9×14′ maid’s quarters.
Since the biggest part of photography is problem solving, we had to find a way to make it work. I decided to make our small pace even cozier by wrapping the entire set in black. Normally, the idea of using a DSLR to shoot celebrities dressed in black against a black background is a recipe for disaster. Other DSLR tend to block up in the shadows, but one of the things I love about the a900 is that it holds unbelievable detail in the shadows, so I was confident we could pull it off.
Highlights included Kerry Washington and Tichina Arnold fighting it out for bragging rights in a pose-off. For the record, in situations like that, it’s actually the photographer who wins.
Speaking of posing, celebrity stylist Philip Bloch might very well still be posing in front of the camera if they hadn’t threatened to turn the power off on us.
My thanks to all of the celebrities who took part…Alfre Woodard, Alyssa Milano, Amy Collins, Barry Bostwick, Benji Schwimmer, Chris Mann, Damian Bichir, Dana Delany, Daniel Stern, David Hyde Pierce, DeRay Davis, Oscar-winning writer/producer Dustin Lance Black, Fisher Stevens, Frances Fisher, Gilles Marini, Gina Gershon, Harry Hamlin, James Denton, Jamie Kennedy, Jason Ritter, Jeannine Kaspar, Jeffrey Ross, Kerry Washington, Kim Kardashian, Kyson Lee, Mary Murphy, Paula Abdul, Paul Hipp, Robert Davi, Sharon Lawrence, Stephen Collins, Syd Butler, Tamala Jones, Taraji P. Henson, Tichina Arnold, Tim Daly, Wendie Malick, Vik Sahay, Zoey Deschanel, Celebrity Stylists Philip Bloch, Joel Warren, Edward Tricomi, Producer Tom Molloy, Gay-rights activist Cleve Jones, WWE Wrestlers Cody Rhodes, John Morrison, Kofi Kingston, Ted DiBiase, Jr., The Miz and WWE Divas Kelly Kelly, Maria Kanellis, Maryse Ouellet and Melina Perez.
Quincy Jones has suggested that it might be an opportune time to lobby President Barak Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts. While many other countries have had Ministers of Art or Culture for centuries, the United States has never created such a position. This country needs the arts–now more than ever.