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Week 216

Two, The Book

Week 216

My first book of portraits, Two. A little over two years ago I got a chance to take my first celebrity portrait and that is when I began a career of taking pictures. Over 200 shoots later I’ve made my first book: 62 black and white celebrity portraits duotone printed on beautiful 11×11″ paper and hardcover bound. Tom Hanks is on the cover, Patti Smith graces the back cover and there are about 60 more very interesting people in between (like Sharon Jones, John Oliver, Cuba Gooding Jr., Michelle Dockery below.) Here you can see me approving the first pages to come off the press in Verona Italy, at EBS, where Two was printed. EBS has printed works from Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton and many more. It was an honor to work with them. I’m really so proud of this work, and humbled with the opportunities that allowed me to make it. Two is now printed, bound and about to ship to the US of A. It will be here in July and you can find more info about it and the ability to purchase it here.

Week 205

Lily Tomlin in Los Angeles.

Week 205

Lily Tomlin in Los Angeles. What a treat this was. We were originally scheduled to photograph in a hotel in the hills, but had to audible at the last second because they were not accommodating. What seemed like a shoot about to quickly go sour changed into an ideal situation. We moved it to Lily’s office which was filled with awards, dozens of movie posters and walls lined with West Wing original cuts. The breadth of Lily’s career is astounding. She was sassy, intelligent, sweet and bought us lunch. – JD

Week 203

Vanessa Hudgens in New York City.

Week 203

Vanessa Hudgens for Gigi in New York City. Vanessa plays the title character in this musical revival that was just picked up to debut on Broadway. Before our shoot I got a sneak peak of the cast rehearsing a few numbers. Vanessa was full of energy on stage, and their rendition of The Night They Invented Champaign was a spectacle. I enjoyed taking Vanessa’s portrait; she was cute and charming. By the end we were doing our best Audrey Hepburn impression, which is what this is truly all about. – JD

Week 202

Al Green in Memphis, TN.

Week 202

Al Green, singing, in Memphis, TN. I have a few playlists reserved for all my shoots and they’re littered with Al Green classics. Thinking it would be in poor taste to have Love and Happiness pop on the Bose in the middle of our shoot I decided to omit them before I got to Memphis. I couldn’t have been more mistaken as The Reverend couldn’t stop singing his hits our entire session. He was animated and affable. His story is transformative and his music iconic. It was an honor to be invited into his office brimming with portraits, photographs, awards and mementos of the man who worked there.  – JD

Week 201

Sting in New York City.

Week 201

Sting in New York City on the set of The Last Ship at The Neil Simon Theatre. Sting came by while we were preparing our sets and lighting, and I was surprised by his calm and open presence in the theater. It was clear this show was his baby, and this theater his home, as he greeted the theater crew and support staff. The rock and pop legend was quiet and reserved for much of our sitting. He lit up when we spoke about chess and the time he played a game against infamous grandmaster Garry Kasparov. My first love was the Beatles, and right after came The Police. The opening portrait, taken with my hasselblad on ilford film, is one of my favorites of last year. – JD

Week 200

Jimmy Page at the Bowery Hotel in New York City.

Week 200

Jimmy Page in New York City. I photographed Jimmy in conjunction with his book Jimmy Page by Jimmy Page. There was a copy at the shoot and it was an impressive collection of rare photographs. Jimmy was a John Varvatos wearing rock icon with a polite demeanor. We had the perfect setting at The Bowery Hotel. Decadent and authentic, it is where a rock legend should stay and I was lucky to have it as a backdrop. Jimmy Page is rock history. I was humbled. – JD

Week 199

Tom Hanks in New York for The Kennedy Center Honors.

Week 199

Tom Hanks in New York City. What can I say? … He’s Tom Hanks. Lovable, funny, expressive, and iconic Tom Hanks. Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, Toy Story, Saving Private Ryan – Tom Hanks. Historian, entertainer and Kennedy Center Honoree – Tom Hanks. He’s a proud dad,  he had a good Annie Leibovitz story and enjoys old typewriters. It was an honor, Tom Hanks, thank you! – JD

Week 198

James Earl Jones at The Longacre Theatre in New York City.

Week 198

James Earl Jones in New York City. I particularly enjoy photographing older people. I want to soak in as much knowledge as possible. I was excited, and nervous. It was odd to hear the iconic voice of Darth Vader telling grandpa jokes. He had a great story about getting a private training session from Arnold Schwarzenegger during the filming of Conan the Barbarian. James was so sweet, funny, and it was an honor to photograph him. – JD

Week 197

Dan Stevens in New York.

Week 197

Dan Stevens in New York City. I photographed Dan in anticipation of his flick The Guest. I went out and saw it the weekend after shooting Dan and the experience was amazing. Dan is a quintessentially polite and handsome British dad with two kids. His character in The Guest is an American military badass who says things like, “cash is easy to come by.” It was an awesome juxtaposition. Dan also starred in Downton Abbey. He was engaging, fun, and a pleasure to photograph. – JD

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