Photographers' Blog

Bieber fever spreads to Mexico

By Henry Romero

The security fence surrounding the hotel in the upscale neighborhood of Polanco, Mexico, where Justin Bieber was scheduled to give a news conference, was impressive. It was far away from the main entrance of the hotel – far enough away to make sure that the throngs of frenzied girls would not be able to trample their object of lust to death. Girls still dressed in their school uniform endured the sun for hours, screaming or singing his songs together, without knowing each other but bonding through their love for him.

When we, the photographers and journalists, were walking past to get into position for the news conference, the girls begged to come along with us “Sir, let me carry your equipment; don’t you need an assistant?; Pleeeease, I love him sooo much, please, take me with you…….” while they hugged the fence and held pictures of Justin pressed to their hearts.

One of them was holding onto a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Justin like it was the real thing; Justin – the cardboard lover.

Later, at Mexico City’s main square the Zocalo, the screaming was a thousand fold. The crowd was more diverse as it was a free concert. For many it was the only chance to see Justin Bieber without having to pay a small fortune.

Mothers and fathers accompanied their daughters as they waited 12 hours ahead of the concert. They camped on the streets near the square in order to be able to land a good spot in front of the stage.

Where celebrities get slimed

By Mario Anzuoni

This year, as in the past, I was assigned to shoot the show portion of the annual Kids Choice awards. The show caters to an audience of children and teenagers and most importantly all the awards are voted on by the kids. The main star of the show is always the green slime – which the kids and some of the celebrities get plenty of.

A few days ahead of the show there was an announcement that the First Lady of the U.S. was going to attend the show with daughters Sasha and Malia to present The Big Help Award to singer Taylor Swift.

Naturally this year security was stepped up due to the attendance of the First Lady, so I had to be at the venue a few hours in advance to clear Secret Service. We were informed that Michelle Obama would arrive about 15 minutes before the show and we would have a few minutes to photograph her in her seat. Despite being a hectic and quick photo opportunity surrounded by thousands of screaming kids, I managed to get a few spontaneous frames of the First Lady interacting with some kids in the audience.

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.