Photographers' Blog

Two minutes with David Spade

By Mario Anzuoni

I was invited to Sony studios to shoot a portrait of actor David Spade during a lunch break from the taping of his television series “Rules of Engagement”.

I anticipated this would be quite a quick opportunity, after being told to be ready promptly at 2 pm to catch David before his lunch. Once there I was told I would be able to set up in their green room, an office type of room (not the most exciting setting for a portrait). As my allotted time approached I kept thinking that it would have been ideal if I would have been able to photograph him on the actual set, placing him into the context of the tv series. As I watched from the sidelines, right before the break, I was introduced to the stage manager.

I couldn’t waste any time in emphasizing how much more relevant it would be to portray him on set rather than in a simple room. It was doable! But we still had to seek approval of the Union crew to keep the lights on for a couple of extra minutes. Thankfully everyone agreed and I was able to photograph David in the two iconic settings — his office and the diner — stealing only about 2 minutes and 30 seconds from his lunch break. Needless to say he was very pleased and said “finally someone who’s quick!”
Lights out.

The obituary photo: A life summed up in a single image

By Fred Prouser

In recent days, there has been a spate of celebrity deaths – with each story about the celebrity’s life accompanied by a photograph I took in the past. From Andy Griffiths, producer Richard Zanuck, Sylvester Stallone’s son Sage to Oscar winning actress Celeste Holm, their lives were summed up in a single photograph.

Most often the death is unexpected, so preparations made well in advance of the persons demise come in to play. Aside from a good headshot from a premiere or other event, acquisition of stills from the person’s movie career are a must. It then becomes a mission of online research to locate an appropriate photograph, which could be from the publicist, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, various Halls of Fame or sometimes reaching out to the celebrity’s fan club for that elusive photograph, to get the photo as quickly as possible to go with the story.

Since I began shooting entertainment for Reuters in 1992 in Hollywood, I was able to cover the tail end of the Golden Age of Hollywood stars, including Gene Kelly, Ginger Rogers, Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Cyd Charisse. I felt it an honor to have captured the spirit and essence of these stars and at times have my photograph used with their obituary story. Of the thousands of images shot during a long career, to capture the quintessential smile, glance or scowl – and have it be the image to sum up a life – that’s the job of the humble obituary photograph.

Ten minutes or less with Taylor Lautner

Actor Taylor Lautner, who stars in the upcoming movie 'The Twilight Saga: Eclipse', poses for a portrait in Los Angeles June 12, 2010. Picture taken June 12, 2010.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

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.

Not unlike other press junkets, this one was held at a prestigious hotel in Los Angeles. The hotel had been rigged and retrofitted for these types of media events.

One minute with Justin Bieber

Singer Justin Bieber poses for a portrait in New York, June 3, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

This portrait session came about because our entertainment reporter, Christine Kearney, noticed that one of the several PR pitches that came across her desk was a small event where Justin Bieber was going to give the winner of a contest a bouquet of flowers. Normally this isn’t a story that we would be interested in because it doesn’t have anything to do with any “larger picture” type of story. However, because it was Bieber, Christine decided she would ask for a few minutes to interview him. One of the hardest things for us to do is gain access because a lot of musicians, actors, or television personalities have very specific images that they want to project so access can be incredibly tight. This restriction to access can make my job difficult because as a photographer I would love the opportunity to document what these public figures lives are like on a day to day basis. The next best thing for me to get is a little one on one time with whoever allows it. Luckily, the PR officer said yes to both the request for a private interview and a quick portrait session, as long as I was low key and quick.

PEOPLE-BIEBER/It was a hot day and hauling a large rolling suitcase around with a single set of strobes, along with my backpack full of camera equipment, was enough to make sure that I was panting by the time Christine and I arrived at a small non-descript flower shop in Lower Manhattan. As we walked in I was surprised to see only about a dozen people inside, a couple of television cameras, and one other still photographer. At most events where a celebrity as popular as Justin Bieber is attending there are dozens of photographers and television cameras. I was heartened to see that it would be a much smaller crowd for this. The woman organizing the event told me I could set up my lights in the back while a television station interviewed Justin. Once that was finished Christine could interview him while I moved my lights to the front of the shop where Bieber had to remain seated. I have to admit, I wish all of my portrait shoots could take place in flower shops because it was a welcome break from the usual portrait venue of a hotel room. Not only was the air conditioning on high but it smelled nice and flowery. I think this put everyone at ease as I didn’t have any issues whatsoever setting up my lights, moving them to the front room through a small crowd, or shooting a quick portrait.

As Christine was finishing her interview the organizer of the event came up to me and the other photographer to ask if we could both get our shots in the 3 minutes they had allotted for photos. I asked if we could get more time but Bieber was scheduled to be somewhere immediately following this event and the timing couldn’t be changed. I struck a deal with the other photographer that I could have the first minute and he could have the second and third as he was hired by the organizers of the event and needed multiple people, angles, promoters, etc in his photos. I knew that if other people crowded around Bieber it would be difficult to separate them in time and I just needed single photographs. Christine introduced me to Bieber and after mentioning that I had seen him perform a few months ago with a cast, I went to work.