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…..




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One of the best things about doing what I do is not knowing where I’m gonna be tomorrow, so when Dana Kien at the Wall Street Journal asked if I wanted to shoot Irish singer Enya, there was no hesitation when I said ‘Yes!”. She was going to be in New York to promote her new album and I could get an hour with her at her hotel between interviews and TV gigs. So Robert and I loaded up the van and drove downtown to the St. Regis Hotel…

I didn’t know what kind of suite we would have to work with, but I did know all of the rooms at the St. Regis face North, so we would probably have lots of soft window light to play with. And when we got there, the first thing I did was see how Robert looked with nothing but that available light…



Well…that was easy…now what else can we do?!! The bedroom was pretty opulent complete with a nice, velvet wallpaper…



…and I also brought a lavender seamless that I could drop for a variation…


…that looked like this…


I think we’re ready to go! And as cute as Robert was, I knew Enya would bring a bit more to the table…



And by just pulling the seamless outta the way…and adding a pillow from the bed for her to lean on…this is how things looked…


Now let’s move onto the windows…



You’ll notice that I got rid of those windows across the street…it just makes everything look a lot cleaner and more elegant.



And here’s the page from today’s Wall Street Journal


Thanks to Dana for the great shoot…and thanks to Enya for letting me turn her suite into a studio for an hour!


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’s 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…


Communication Arts Award Of Excellence


I am quite honored and humbled to announce that my portrait of Willem Dafoe for the Wall Street Journal was included in this years Communication Arts Photo Annual


Thanks to photo editor Ronnie Weil for thinking of me such a plum assignment, art director Keith Webb for his elegant layout and writer Alexandra Wolfe for her always eloquent words.