By Mario Anzuoni
This year I was assigned for the first time to cover the show portion of the Grammy awards. I felt privileged to have the opportunity to photograph the most respected music award show in the world. The week preceding the award show (dubbed Grammy week in the entertainment business) builds up the hype with pre-Grammy events and gala nights, including this year’s MusiCares Person of the Year to Paul McCartney and the Clive Davis dinner party. The best of the music industry is in Los Angeles.
Two days prior to the show were filled with rehearsals at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. On Saturday, I was ready to watch a rehearsal when the news broke of Whitney Houston’s death, 24 hours before the Grammy Awards. I immediately started wondering what kind of tribute the Grammy could put together with 24 hours notice to honor the loss of such a high-caliber artist. I realized that no matter what, the 54th Grammy Awards was going to be about the loss of Whitney Houston and in fact, a few hours later news came out that Jennifer Hudson was going to sing during a tribute to Houston.
Reuters had been approved for a ten-minute portrait session with Taylor Lautner, the heartthrob of millions of teenagers, my editor Sam Mircovich informed me the day before the shoot.
Reporter Alex Dobuzinskis had a one-on-one interview with Taylor scheduled ahead of the premier of “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.” Before the release of a film, the production company organizes press junkets in which the cast is available for media interviews and occasionally for a quick photo session. Photo access is rare so whenever it’s granted to us, it’s welcomed.