Salman Rushdie for WSJ

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The phone rang…and we got to spend the morning with Salman Rushdie”. The celebrated author just released his fourteenth novel…Quichotte, which was just added to the shortlist for this year’s Booker Prize…and Elizabeth Winkler was interviewing him for the Weekend Confidential column.

Here’s a look at our time with Salman…

The first setup couldn’t be simpler…a single 5-foot parabolic umbrella flying high on a boom, a couple of layered backdrops (courtesy of Gravity Backdrops) and an old, beat up farm table…

Very classic and very contrasty…

For the second portrait, we went with a boomed, gridded, diffused 20″ Profoto Beauty Dish high and directly overhead, filled with another five-footer behind the camera…

Here’s how it looked…

Finally, I moved in tighter…

That was the one…..

Rose Byrne For The Wall Street Journal

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Rose Byrne is in a new movie…Juliet, Naked…that’s coming out August 17th and Alexandra Wolfe just profiled her for the ‘Weekend Confidential’ feature in the Wall Street Journal. Coincidentally, we shot Ethan Hawke…her co-star in the film…a few weeks back. Here’s a look at our day with Rose…

Rose and the Glam Squad took over the back end of the studio…

After going over the wardrobe, we really liked a beautiful beaded dress for our first shot…very soft and feminine…and since the studio had a nice wall of windows, we thought of using the natural light…

…but the natural light wasn’t quite enough to rely on, so we had to improvise a bit. I added a 5′ umbrella outside the door for our main light…

…and a second five-footer clamped to the fire escape for the other window…

Those two big umbrellas gave us the consistent soft daylight look we needed…

But a third five-footer was added above the camera for some soft fill and we tweaked the color & contrast corrections in Capture One…it looked a lot better with Rose in place…

For our second shot, we dragged the umbrellas off of the fire escape and quickly positioned them into a ten foot high wall of softness against some whitewashed wood planks…

Let’s go with the white motorcycle jacket and black jeans…

For the final series, I wanted to get a bit darker & moodier, so we set up a boomed 7′ parabolic umbrella against a rough concrete wall…

As much as I like the previous shot with the white MC, the black-on-black version was really the way to go…

And for one final variation, we simply dialed in the shadows a bit…

The Rose Byrne interview is in The Wall Street Journal right now…

Thanks for the great day, Rose…

Mary Higgins Clark For The Wall Street Journal

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I recently got to spend an afternoon overlooking Central Park in the pied-√†-terre of iconic author Mary Higgins Clark. She had just published her 37th novel…which, as usual, entered at the Bestsellers List at #1…and Alexandra Wolfe was featuring her for the ‘Weekend Confidential’ column. Here’s how it went…

When I described the apartment as a pied-√†-terre, I wasn’t kidding. Her main residence is an estate in New Jersey, but the Central Park apartment is just a small one-bedroom she uses in the city, but it was impeccably designed and offered us a few options. We started with a simple setup in front of a painting her children commissioned of their mother 30 years earlier. And for the lighting, it was equally simple…just a 7′ umbrella with a black Gobo to cut the light on the upper corner…

For a second portrait, we just turned the camera towards the windows facing the park and swung the light…

As nice as Kaz looked, Mary’s ensemble worked a little better…

And that proved to be what the Journal was looking for…

Steve Madden Don’t Take Shit From Nobody

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Most people might think they know who Steve Madden is. After spending an afternoon with him for the Wall Street Journal, I can guarantee you have no idea who Steve Madden is! The Journal was doing a profile on him in conjunction with the release of ‘Maddman’…a documentary that tells his rags to riches story, from selling shoes out of the trunk of his car to becoming the mogul of a billion-dollar designer footwear empire to being sentenced to prison because of his entanglement with Jordan Belfort (the Wolf of Wall Street guy) and how he’s rebuilding his empire and his life following his release. He is a nonstop bundle of crazy, manic energy and I had to corral that energy into a few portraits for the story.

When we showed up at his showroom, we immediately were presented with a Warholian wall of ‘Maddman’ movie posters…

I know right off that would make for a fun portrait. I wanted it to be punchy and for the colors to really pop, so we went with a Profoto 3′ RFI main light with a ring light fill…

…and when Steve showed up, it almost looked like he walked right outta the posters…

As we were setting up the first shot, it occurred to me that the B&W graphic wall next to us had some potential as well…

We set up a similar lighting as the first shot, but with a gridded Beauty Dish in place of the RFI for the main light…

(Robert asking Steve to remove the giant wad of cash from his pocket before we begin)

Yeah…this works, too…

Now we already had two pretty strong portraits, but I wanted to get Steve as just Steve…alone on a seamless…so we dropped a roll of white in front of the shoe racks and went to work…

it looked good…

…but something told me shooting it B&W was the way to go…

Steve told me he never let anyone shoot him without his baseball cap…

…but I put him in a good mood…

Tony Bennett


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Three years ago I got to hang out with Tony Bennett for an afternoon. Then a few weeks ago, lightening struck twice when Ronnie Weil asked me to shoot him again for Alexandra Wolfe’s Weekend Confidential column in the Wall Street Journal. Just as the first time, we would be meeting Tony at his art studio on Central Park South…


…but Ronnie had asked men to not concentrate on the studio this time, but instead to go for a classic portrait. Keep it simple. Focus on his personality. So with that as my brief, off we went.

As you can see in the above photo of his studio, there is a lot of natural light to work with. The entire north side of the room is a wall of windows facing the Park, so I decided to use my brand new Canon 5Ds with my equally new Sigma Art lenses with all that light against a black pop-up backdrop. Here is my first test with Kaz…


But when Tony sat in place, the entire mood changed…


And as much as we liked the color, I also processed the entire series in black and white as well…and it was kinda awesome…

Tony Bennett

And the Journal agreed. Here’s the final page…


But I wasn’t done yet. I had set up a couple of lights against a wall for a second portrait…



Tony Bennett


Thanks to Ronnie for the opportunity…and thanks to Tony for allowing me to hang out with him one more time!


Say My Name

Bryan Cranston

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I’m gonna keep this behind-the-scenes look fairly short and sweet…kinda like my time with Bryan Cranston…because I think the portraits will sort of do all the heavy lifting. Ronnie Weil needed Mr. Cranston shot for Alexandra Wolfe’s ‘Weekend Confidential” feature in the Review section of the Wall Street Journal and I was happy enough to oblige. Here’s how we set up our pop-up studio at the London Hotel for what turned out to be a pretty great morning…

Unlike a lot of the hotel shoots I find myself in, the London gave us a pretty nice (and large) space to work with…nice enough that I was able to break out some of my really BIG guns…the 79″ Rime Lites…




Here’s how things looked with Robert standing in…


That set would allow me to do everything from full length to tight portraits, but I wanted to also have a more controlled lighting setup for another portrait, so we pulled out the beauty dish…


Here’s Kaz posing as fast as he can…


Alright…we’re ready to go. Mr. Cranston, you’re on!


Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

Next, I broke out my favorite antique posing stool…

Bryan Cranston

Bryan Cranston

After a very quick 5 minutes…with his publicist doing the countdown mambo behind me…we moved over to the second set…

Bryan Cranston

…and played around with the shadow and light on his face, getting progressively darker and moodier as we went along…

Bryan Cranston


Bryan Cranston

And here is the final story as it appeared in the Wall Street Journal…


And for you Breaking Bad fans, here’s a little Badfinger to play us out…


Life is good when you love what you do…..


Lord Julian Fellowes, Rock Star

Julian Fellowes

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Ronnie Weil from the Wall Street Journal recently called me up and asked if I wanted to add Julian Fellowes to my Rogues Gallery. The English actor, novelist, film director, screenwriter and member of the House of Lords…so that actually makes him Lord Julian Fellowes…was in town for the Broadway opening of the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, ‘School Of Rock”. Lord Fellowes wrote the book for the musical. That’s right…the same guy who won an Oscar for ‘Gosford Park’ and got crazy famous for coming up with ‘Downton Abbey’ was now gonna turn the Jack Black goofball comedy into a Larger than Life Andrew Lloyd Webber musical!

So what was I gonna do?!!

He’s English…offer him some Tea!!!


And it’s a Rock & Roll musical, so I gotta get a guitar. I shot Gabrielle Sterbenz right after she picked up her shiny, white Stratocaster and I knew it would be the perfect prop for a fine English gentleman in a bespoke suit…

Gabrielle Sterbenz

Now I just had to get prepared. Lord Fellowes would have very little time once he got to the studio. He was coming from a morning TV appearance and had an interview immediately afterwards. So Matt and I set up a couple of tastily lit portrait situations…

Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes

As good as Matt looked, Julian just added a bit more panache…

Julian Fellowes

And to my surprise, he took to the guitar idea immediately…

Julian Fellowes

Next we moved over to the full-length seamless…

Julian Fellowes

…but now we added the Tea Cup with Gabby’s Strat…

Julian Fellowes

And our job was complete!


Thank you, Lord Fellowes…I can hardly wait to see ‘School Of Rock’…and for the final season of Downton!

Julian Fellowes

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem

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Over the years, my association with the Wall Street Journal has allowed me to photograph quite a few truly amazing personalities…Tony Bennett, Judy Collins, Penn Jillette and Willem Dafoe…just to name a few, and the string continues with my recent shoot with writer, journalist, activist and all-round cool lady, Gloria Steinem. The Journal’s ‘Mansion’ section was profiling her about the release of her book…‘My Life On The Road’…where among other things, she recalls her early life crisscrossing the country in her family‚Äôs Airstream. When I arrived, I found a pre-release copy next to her bed…complete with an editing pen…


This was my second time photographing Gloria…the first being for BusinessWeek back in 2001…

Gloria Steinem

…and just as back then, my assigning Photo Editor was Ronnie Weil, who came along on the shoot and got to act as Gloria’s stand in…


Where else to start but in Gloria’s bedroom?!!



…which gave us the photo that opened the story…

Gloria Steinem Gloria Steinem

For our second portrait, we turned to her living room, where the years she spent in India shows through in her decorating style…

Gloria Steinem


Another iconic day…thanks to Ronnie…


…and of course, thanks to Ms. Steinem…


Bill Nighy Is Way Cooler Than You

Bill Nighy

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Bill Nighy is cool. Throughout the meandering flow of his career he’s played a vampire, a wizard, an aging, sleazy burnout rock star, a nazi, a time traveler and even Davy Jones with an Octopus face! Whatever he’s in, he’s the coolest guy on the screen. And he wears a suit really well, too. When he arrived at the Golden Theater…where he was starring in Skylight with Cary Mulligan…for our Wall Street Journal shoot, he just oozed cool…that bespoke suit, his perfect diction, his silky smooth attitude…I thought to myself…he’s the King of Cool.

And…off we go…


The mezzanine of the Golden had lotsa space for Julien and Kaz to assemble our pop-up studio…




And a quick 45 degree turn to the left offered up a wonderful second shot…



Here’s how everything turned out…

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy


I wanna be cool like Bill…


Suite Judy Blue Eyes


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Judy Collins…!!!

When Ronnie Weil called and offered me this one, all I could say was, “Wow!”. For five decades…my entire life…she’s been making music‚Ķbeautiful music. Now Judy is recording a new CD that is tentatively titled “Duets with Guys”, an album that will feature her signing with Jeff Bridges, Jimmy Buffett, Don McLean and Kris Kristofferson, and Alexandra Wolfe was writing a profile on her for the Wall Street Journal. Here is how our day went‚Ķ

Kaz sitting in for our first shot…



Ms. Collins in the makeup chair…


And our shooting day begins…



We also had a Journal video crew following us around…



Here are a couple of final images…

Judy Collins


For the next setup, I wanted to do something dark & dramatic, and more etherial. And while it doesn’t look like much with Kaz in place‚Ķ


…once Judy stepped on set, things got dialed in pretty fast…




Judy Collins

…and our final image…

Judy Collins


As a little bonus, follow the link below for Ali Wolfe’s interview with Judy‚Ķ


…as well as some more behind-the-scenes from our shoot:

Judy Collins Interview & Behind-the-Scenes footage


And Now For Something Completely Different: John Cleese


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Even considering that I’ve had the good fortune to photograph some pretty impressive people over the years, when Ronnie Weil called from the Wall Street Journal and offered up John Cleese, it really knocked the wind outta me. People toss around the word ‘iconic’ a lot, but John Cleese is a true ICON. What he and the rest of the Pythons did to comedy in the early 70’s forever changed how people laughed. He is a manic genius who‚Ķto quote a famous Monty Python sketch‚Ķis a true master of sarcasm…dramatic irony, metaphor, pathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire!

And I was getting 15 minutes with him…

Mr. Fawlty was in New York as part of a tour to promote his new book, “So Anyway”, and we met him in a midtown hotel where we set up two situations in a room slightly smaller than an average walk-in closet‚Ķ

For our first shot, I wanted to do a tight portrait…just his face…to capture a range of expressions…


We started with just a gridded Profoto beauty dish on the grey seamless…


‚Ķthen added a 4′ x 6′ Chimera over my shoulder for fill and a small strip light on the background for separation‚Ķ


But something didn’t look right‚Ķthe 80mm lens perspective was a bit uninteresting‚Ķso we swapped it for the 150mm‚Ķ


Much better…now just add one Python…


…and let the rat-faced fun begin!

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

I began calling out various characters of his and sketches he was known for and he immediately knew where to take it…

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City


And because we had a wealth of great expressions, I made the suggestion that we do a montage of them. Here is how it ran in the Journal…


Then we turned 45 degrees to the left and played around with some 3/4 shots…


It was like shooting fish in a barrel…

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

Then he started doin’ this‚Ķ


John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

…and like that, our 15 minutes were up. But I had a fantastic time with an honest-to-God ICONand checked off one more Bucket List item!

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

John Cleese - November 4th, 2014 New York City

Rick Masters + Jesus + Sgt. Elias = Willem Dafoe


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As a young photographer, I had this very dreamy, romanticized idea of what it must be like to shoot celebrities. One of my early photography idols was Bert Stern, and I just figured every shoot with a celebrity might end up like his famous session with Marilyn Monroe where they locked themselves in a suite at the Bel-Air Hotel for three days with a case of ’53 Dom Perignon, a couple of cameras and a few props, and emerged totally spent but with a collection of amazing photographs. But I moved to New York a couple of decades later…just about the time when shoots like that were becoming increasingly controlled by managers, publicists, agents and the studio P/R machine. Ideas had to be pre-approved and even then it didn’t mean you would get to do them. And three days? More like five minutes after your writer got to ask his five questions, thank you very much! But if you’re smart you learn how to work the angles, you keep a few tricks up your sleeve when you don’t have the cooperation you had hoped for, and occasionally, you get lucky‚Ķ

Ronnie Weil called me at 5:00PM on a Thursday and asked if I would be available the next morning to shoot Willem Dafoe for the Wall Street Journal’s ‘Weekend Confidential’ section. His new film, “A Most Wanted Man”, was coming out in a week and they were given a last-minute opportunity interview him. Now I don’t know about you, but there are very few actors that I can remember from the first moment I saw them on screen, and Willem Dafoe is one of them. His performance as the slick criminal Rick Masters in “To Live and Die in L.A.” burned into my brain. I immediately knew this was a seriously great actor. So yes‚Ķof course‚Ķjust tell me where and when and I’ll be there with a big grin on my face‚Ķ

The Journal likes the portraits for the ‘Weekend Confidential’ section to be all about the personality, and not prop or location-driven, and so we typically keep things very simple‚Ķseamless backdrops or locations that don’t distract from the subject. And it’s not a fashion show, either. What you bring with you is what we shoot. Willem arrived‚Ķearly, I might add‚Ķalone and ready to go. He was wearing black jeans, a black t-shirt and a wonderfully disarming smile. After a few minutes of me heaping gobs of fanboy praise on him and a little light grooming, we were ready to go‚Ķ

(Groomer Amy Komorowski)

Willem Dafoe was made to be photographed. He has one of the most expressive faces in the business‚Ķwhether he’s playing a silent film Vampire (Max Schreck in “Shadow of the Vampire”), a Viet Nam-era Marine (Sergeant Elias in “Platoon”), a cartoon character arch-villain (the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man”) or Jesus Christ himself (“The Last Temptation of Christ”)…and I wanted my portraits of him had to capture the depth he conveys through the characters he portrays. I had a few ideas I wanted to try…and we were told Willem would give us about an hour‚Ķso here is how it went‚Ķ





I started this first setup as a 3/4 body shot, but allowed myself to move in and out as his poses and mood changed…



William Dafoe







Then we sat down and came in for a tight series of darker, more intimate portraits…





William Dafoe

Now, I was already thrilled with what we had done and that Willem had given us so much time, but I kind of liked the white brick wall in the studio, so I asked him for a few more minutes to put up a fresnel spotlight and play around with the shadows…




William Dafoe

William Dafoe

In the end, the Journal chose one of my favorites for the article…


…and once again, I find myself surprised at how lucky I am to be able to do what I do…


A Few Card Tricks With Penn Jillette For The Wall Street Journal

Penn Jillette

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Recently, I’ve been lucky enough to shoot some very nice features for the Wall Street Journal, including today’s entry‚ĶPenn Jillette‚Ķthe larger, more vocal half of Penn & Teller. He was in town promoting the move he produced and Teller directed called, “Tim’s Vermeer”, a documentary about inventor Tim Jenison’s quest to duplicate the painting techniques of Johannes Vermeer.

The Weekend Confidential section of the Journal typically uses a portrait shot on seamless for the lead art, but I really wanted to do something a bit darker and mysterious as well. I originally thought of doing a Vermeer-like set, but limited time (and budget) kind of made that impractical. However, I did have a classical muslin backdrop that would create the mood I saw in my head. I had it painted about 20 years earlier and pull it out every few years when the need arises. With a few decks of cards, a beat up table and a World-class magician, the photograph almost made itself…

Penn Jillette

There is something truly liberating about shooting portraits on a seamless drop when your subject is as expressive as Penn. I basically threw up a big, soft light (a 47″ Rime Lite Grand Box) and we just had a conversation that I recorded with my camera. My only props were an old chair and one perfectly chosen playing card‚Ķ

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

Penn Jillette

And here’s how it turned out‚Ķ


Just a couple of Jokers…at your service!

Penn Jillette


Cuz some of you guys won’t leave me alone about how I lit the shot on the muslin drop, here’s a lighting diagram that should spell things out quite easily‚Ķ


As you can see‚Ķit’s pretty simple. The ring light had the diffusion reflector on it‚Ķ


‚Ķand was about two stops under the main light, my modified Desisti 10″ Fresnel spotlight‚Ķ


The Desisti (powered by a Profoto Acute 2400 pack) was placed to the right of the camera and was flagged off by two long, black cards that threw the shadows onto both Penn and the back wall. I like the Fresnel spot for a couple of reasons. First, it’s very easy to place the shadows exactly where you want them because of the focused beam of light. And secondly, the light quality is much nicer than a bare head‚Ķit just has an open, sunny look to it. To get the overall color looking the way I wanted, I added about 3/4 CT filtration on the Fresnel and then adjusted the white balance back so the skin tones weren’t too warm, which put a slight blue cast onto the background and in the shadow areas.

I’m Gonna Be Teaching At Santa Fe…

Mark your calendars kids, ‘cuz in July Mr. Damn Ugly is gonna be jetting off to teach a workshop at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops! Reid Callanan, the High Priest of Santa Fe, has invited Ronnie Weil and I to teach a week-long program called ‘The Editorial Portrait’… intensive class that will let us show a group of young photographers what it takes to shoot for an editorial client. We’re still figuring out the curriculum, but I’m getting tired already! I figure by the end of the week, if the students don’t have a very good idea of what it takes to be an editorial portrait shooter, they never will! The week will be a non-stop cycle of shooting and critiquing work…every day new assignments are given out and the students have to adapt immediately and come back with great imagery. I’m looking forward to kicking some young photographer ass!!!

The fun begins July 4th and you can read all about our workshop HERE!

More Cuts At BusinessWeek???

The sad news racing through the photo community this morning…or at least the small portion I find myself a part of…is that another sweeping round of axings layoffs at BusinessWeek is imminent. I suppose my acting surprised might seem a trifle disingenuous, but since Bloomberg assumed the reins back in December and the initial firings were announced, things seemed to be stabilizing and I was hoping (against hope?) that the friends and colleagues I have known for years would be spared further cuts, but with word that a new design team is in place and both the New York Post and Daily Finance reporting that as many as 30 more people might face the chopping block as early as tomorrow, it’s probably time to face the fact that the magazine I knew is due for some pretty big changes.

Sue Bloom gave me my first assignment back in October of 1988. Roxanne Edwards (then the Photo Director) took a chance and gave me my first cover story a few short months later. It was in 1991 that I began working with the current Photo Director, Ronnie Weil, when she sent me of to shoot the CEO of Pepsi. And Larry Lippman, Kathy Moore, Scott Mlyn, Anne D‚ÄôAprix, Sarah Morse, Andrew Popper, Mindy Katzman, Lori Perbeck, Regina Flanagan, Kat Malott, Burte Hughes, Sandra Torres…throughout the years these photo editors and researchers have been like family. This is one of very few magazines I have worked for where I could drop by and feel like an insider and that my opinions and viewpoint actually mattered. I’ve been allowed access into some pretty amazing executive suites over the years…culminating in Ronnie and me getting to spend an afternoon in the Oval Office just a few months ago for our Obama cover story…and I’ve had the opportunity to produce some rather interesting work. I honestly can’t tell you how many covers I’ve shot for them, but it’s gotta be North of thirty by now, and through it all it’s been a wild ride. Now all any of us can do is see how the next act plays out…..


Bear Attack of the Day

Ronnie Weil figured that since I’m the only person she knows who has regular contact with bears, this instructional video just might come in handy. And I gotta say, I’m pretty impressed that the claymation Davey & Goliath-like action figure looks remarkably like yours truly…Enjoy!

Still Life Of The Day – BusinessWeek Shopping Bag Cover

A couple of weeks ago I got a 5:00PM call from Ronnie Weil, BusinessWeek’s Director of Photography, asking if I was available to shoot a rush-rush cover. The magazine was doing a feature on retailing and wanted to show a shopping bag filled with various products….and they needed shot the next morning….and the finished art that afternoon! Fast forward to the next morning and my stylist Megan Terry swoops into the studio with bags full of props and we get to work on Rich Michiel’s layout…..


Rich would be adding a houndstooth pattern to the white shopping bag in post, but we had to shoot multiple variations of the bag’s contents for them to decide on the final mix of products. After moving the props around into a hundred or so different arrangements, Bo, Megan and I managed to squeak in before the deadline…..


…and the cover (without the Teddy Bear) hit the stands that Friday!


President Barack Obama for BusinessWeek

obama_cover_small copy

There are assignments…and then there are assignments. Last Friday afternoon I had just finished a location scout and was heading up to my place in Connecticut when I got a phone call from BusinessWeek…..Director of Photography Ronnie Weil, Art Director Andrew Horton and Photo Editor Sarah Morse were on the speaker phone and they obviously had something big to tell me. All at once, they practically screamed, “We’ve got ten minutes with the President on Monday…do you wanna do the shoot?!!”. I think I paused for a fraction of a second and thought I was getting punked…then I said “OF COURSE!!!”.

The next few hours took us all on a bit of a roller coaster ride…..first we went from half the editorial staff of the magazine wanting to come along, while I would bring two assistants and a few tons of gear for the intense, overly complex formal cover situation. Then, as we learned more details of what kind of access the White House would allow, it appeared that I might have to go in paparazzi style…just me and a single camera bag going into the Oval Office to document the Q & A, with no time to do an extra set up. But in the end I was able to get Bo to assist me and Ronnie was coming to produce, run defense and feed me Klonopin to calm my nerves. Steve Adler, the Editor in Chief and Washington Bureau Chief Jane Sasseen would be asking the questions and it was up to me to come up with not only a killer cover image, but additional portraits of the President to illustrate the story. We had hopes to still get that second cover shot, but the main focus had to be to photograph the interview in such a way that we could walk away with exceptional cover art.

Bo and Ronnie waiting it out in the White House Pressroom

Even though this would be my fourth time in the White House, you can never foresee how things will come together on the day of a shoot like this. In fact, the same day we were shooting, one of my old assistants, Charlie Samuels, was supposed to get his own session with the President a few hours before us…but his shoot was cancelled at the last minute. As if I didn’t have enough on my mind, when he texted me that his shoot was nuked all I could think was, “Please God, let things work out for us!”.

So with a couple of hours to go before our ten minutes, we got to horse around in the Pressroom…..

Your New White House Press Director!

And we even got to sit in on a press briefing (click on image for full-size)…..

Ronnie looking extremely professional…..

But eventually we were ushered into the West Wing through the rabbit warren-like maze that surrounds the Oval Office. After a brief introduction, Steve and Jane immediately began the interview and I got started by shoving Bo right in the middle of things for a white-balance test shot…..


And then a funny thing happened…our ‘ten minutes’ somehow got stretched to more than half an hour! I still didn’t get a chance to do a set-up portrait, but the extra time really allowed me to focus on getting some truly amazing and expressive shots while the interview went on.





…and here are a few pages from today’s BusinessWeek…..

TOC copy

opener copy

But of course, the fun had to end. The press handlers gave the President the high sign and our big adventure came to an end…but not before we got our grip & grin photos with the Most Powerful Man in the Free World!!!

First, he grabbed Ronnie and pulled her close…

…while I got the more traditional smile and a handshake…..

Don’t let anyone tell ya photographing the President ain’t all it’s cracked up to be!