1 PH T GRAPHS & ST RIES
C2 NTENTS MAD NNA 1 BRETT WHITELEY 2 Cate Blanchett 3 4 Z dameednaeverage6 ANDREW J hns 7 meat l af 7 grandifl ra 8 australian l b ard 10 w LEXUS 12 ADIDAS 12 STGE RGEBANK12 D VE 13 DAVID J NES 13 SUPERc AT 13 AMERICANEXPRESS13 T Y TA 13 GE fFreyrush14 TRENT NATHAN 15 TWINS 17 martyfeldman19 elvis c stell 19 wayner ycr ft20 andy warh l bc
During a shoot I bob and weave, dance the fandango and sometimes push myself to the point of exhaustion. I might start off with a serious edge, but I usually commit some faux pas that breaks the ice. Some people may think I’m eccentric, some may even think I’m crazy, but whatever the situation is, I never bullshit.
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The compliment I pay all my subjects is to be honest and honour them as equals. I’ve spent years with all kinds of egos in front of my lens, including prime ministers, rock gods, bikie gangs, artists, actors, pop stars, authors, comedians and a host of so-called everyday people. When I take their photographs, my philosophy is “keep it simple stupid” and I hope that the subjects will reveal something defining and real about themselves – they usually do. Even when I do my books and personal projects I maintain this fundamental idea of simplicity. Here’s a glimpse into some of my favourite shots. All of them have an interesting story to tell, whether it be a drunk rock star or a dog that won’t sit still. Whatever the story might be – believe me, it’s all non-fiction.
Cheers Gary Heery
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MAD NNA Debut self-titled album cover She arrived at my Broadway studio in New York with a small bag of clothes and jewellery, and no entourage. Then, in front of the camera she was explosive, like a great model, but with her own unique style. She came over the next day to see some prints and the proofs, and there was shot after shot to choose from. We agreed on every choice and whittled it down to the album cover images. I had no idea what I had just been a party to
BRETTWHITELEY When I went to Brettâ€™s studio in Surry Hills, I saw his painting of Joel Ellenburg (a sculptor who died of cancer), rendered in the image of the crucified Christ, and I was immediately drawn to it. Perhaps there was something prophetic about the painting, as I knew about Brettâ€™s never-ending struggle with heroin addiction. In my portrait, he seems to blend into the painting and become a part of it.
3 CATE BLANCHETT What can I say that you don’t already know from the big screen? She is smart, beautiful, approachable, in control and ready to play. What you see is what you get.
Z Zoo, Random House 1996 Why? It’s a question I asked myself more than once during the two years it took to put these photographs together. I asked it as I watched a lioness rip the hell out of six hundred dollars worth of background, having first, with critical economy, peed all over it. I asked it as the white rhino stood bum-to-camera for a myopic eternity staring at a similarly expensive backdrop and then horned into it. The fact of the matter is that these animals are wild and getting into an enclosure with them was dangerous. I held a tarantula in my hand, I had a rattlesnake spray me with venom, a cheetah purred as it rubbed against my leg, mandrills threw shit at me, and I escaped over a fence when the rhino charged me, leaving my camera and tripod as its near victims.
DAMEEDNA EVERAGE We set up backstage in a Canberra theatre and waited till the end of her performance. She didn’t quite expect the two hunks to be waiting in the background for her, but she didn’t blink an eye and when I asked her to put her foot on the guy’s back she stomped it on his head and pushed down hard. The whole shoot lasted ten minutes.
ANDREWJ HNS 7
I did a charity campaign shoot of each of the team captains of the National Rugby League holding the premiership trophy. It takes two normal people to pick up the heavy trophy but all of them treated it like a paperweight. Eventually it came to Newcastle captain Andrew Johns’ turn. Touted as the greatest Rugby League player of all time, Johns shattered the myth that football players are boofheads. Not only is he superhumanly talented on the field, he was also charismatic in front of the camera. After an initial moment of shyness, he revealed the strength that made him a living legend.
MEATL AF I don’t mind big, difficult egos – they come with the territory. I actually get off when celebrities like the exuberant Meat Loaf exceed my expectations, egos included. It’s happened plenty of times in my career, with personalities like the incredibly sexy Ellen Barkin, the legendary Lou Reed, the drunk, drug hazed Joe Cocker and even the brash former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. I can’t remember too much about this shot except that it was for Rolling Stone. Maybe we had too good a time together. It looks like it. At the time, his career was at a low and he was working his way back up. This is the kind of person you love to get in front of the camera, full of energy and attitude. The truth is, it never goes quite the way you expect it will, so you’d better be able to think laterally, move fast and don’t ever forget to enjoy the ride.
GRANDIFL RA Grandiflora, Viking/Penguin 2000 Grandiflora Arrangements, Lantern/Penguin 2007 My wife Saskia is the über florist of Sydney and has a shop called Grandiflora. She was always telling me to “sniff this flower” and “have a good look at just how beautiful this bloom is.” She inspired me to do individual portraits of the myriad of flowers that came into her shop. As with all my projects, I am attracted to the beauty in things, so every few days for four seasons I would choose the specimens that caught my eye and take them home to shoot them on my 4x5 camera. The end result was a lavish coffee table book called Grandiflora. The second book was a deeper collaboration between Saskia and I. Inspired by her passion and creative skills, I photographed floral arrangements created in the shop in individually styled settings where every element in the image, including the vase, background and foreground, was integrated.
11 AUSTRALIAN L W B ARD Communication Arts selection August photo issue 2007 I was always worried that we wouldn’t pull this off. Fortunately, the art director wasn’t and he kept the idea just literal enough not to blow the aesthetics. We had the clothes made up with the weaving unstitched at key contact points and although we tried to shoot the yarn from every angle we ended up creating it in Photoshop and dropping it in. This was all about collaboration and a client who let “creatives” own the day.
ADVERTISING When I moved back to Australia the celebrity market was too thin to make a good living out of, so I turned to advertising for the fuel to fund my life and especially my projects. It’s almost impossible to make a living in a small economy out of books or exhibitions, but you can’t let that stop you. Dove In advertising you’re only as good as the idea, and in the case of Dove Real Beauty it came out of London. I was assigned to shoot the Australian and Asian campaign. This threw me into the world of digital, because in Asia they want shots exported and approved overnight, in fact I haven’t not shot film for advertising since. adidas adidas sent me to New Zealand to shoot one of the all time greats of rugby union – Jonah Lomu and a series of Maori portraits. For this particular shot we had to have a Maori elder present to approve the tattoo (moko) design. On top of that we had half a dozen intimidating players in the studio performing the haka (the native Maori war dance) so we could capture some authentic emotion in the shot. St.George Bank The new St.George Bank Visa Card came in four colours – pink, black, green and purple. I was commissioned to shoot four different characters to convey a personality behind each one of the colours.
David Jones The David Jones Australian Fashion Designers campaign is a second nature job for me and I suppose what I do best. Shooting the best designers Australia has to offer was a real treat. Supercoat The Supercoat campaign had the two evils, animals and kids, but strangely I find working with both subjects really enjoyable. American Express Back in the days when I went to Paris to shoot Elle for American Express, I can remember the overnight anxieties of worrying about the film and whether â€œI got itâ€?. This on top of a clash of personality with Elle and her bloody dog. Toyota/Lexus The Toyota campaign involved the bright idea of setting up in small town garages and getting the station owner to call around the local countryside for Hi-Lux owners. They would then tell them to come in and get their picture taken for some cash. We found so many great authentic people during the shoots, the woman in this shot was the local bank teller.
The Lexus rear view camera concept (opposite page), was a simple and beautiful campaign that effectively delivered the message.
Geoffrey was asked by Instyle magazine what his fantasy persona was, and he answered: the geisha. As he embraced every aspect of geishadom, akin to getting ready for a stage performance, his transformation was seemingly effortless. The diptych was the only way I could convey the process. With Geoffrey It was easy, and the shots won a couple of awards.
TRENTNATHAN Winter/Summer two year campaign Looks simple right? You should try getting two horses to cooperate. To capture the shot we had to get the horses running past a huge black background simultaneously at just the precise moment. The solution? We made a channel out of cars and rope and had a team of people yelling themselves silly. Eventually it worked, however one horse decided on a different route and jumped right over me and the camera, leaving all of us gobsmacked. There was no doubt the atmosphere was electric. Pumping adrenaline, pounding horse flesh and talented models who showed some real spunk. You can’t help but love a shoot like this where you just keep working through the problems 16you get it right. till
TWINS Twins, Penguin/Lantern 2005 In part, this book was born out of a conversation in which I asked – “What if there were two of me, or two of you here, right now?”. It was as much a question to myself as to the other person, but for those who know me, the idea of two of me running loose is a bit scary. So what is it about the duality of mirror-image human beings that fascinates us?
I photographed 70 pairs of identical twins from the age of nought to ninety and as with all of my non-advertising projects, this one satisfied my need to break free of working as a gun-for-hire. Sometimes I need to make my own mistakes. Not having anyone but myself to blame is a creative detox and necessary for my sanity.
WAYNE R YCR FT Citibank portrait prize selection, Art Gallery of NSW Wayne is a three-time Olympian and in 2005 was the head coach for the Australian equestrian team. I don’t think you could take a portrait of him without a horse, because he is probably half horse by now (not that I attempted to convey this in the image). He is a great bloke, shy and laconic like a lot of Aussie men who grew up on the land. The only problem was the horse’s perpetual erection, but a cold hosing down seemed to do the trick.
MARTYFELDMAN During the late 1970s in Los Angeles, I seemed to shoot all the top comedians, including Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, David Steinberg, George Carlin, and Cheech and Chong for Penthouse and Playboy magazines to illustrate their feature interviews. They were some of the most memorable encounters of my career, and perhaps the most memorable was Marty Feldman. I went to Marty’s office in Warner Studios to take this shot, and like most comics, there is a serious side to him that’s unexpected until you start shooting and his light-switch goes on. I asked about this painting behind Marty’s desk and he just jumped up, grabbed it and opened the flap on the front to reveal Queen Victoria’s breasts. The breasts could fold back and leave a hole which perfectly framed his wonderful face.
ELVIS C STELL People never live up to their reputation. Well, almost never. When preparing for this magazine cover shoot of Elvis Costello, I’d organised the usual selection of groovy outfits and accessories, but when he walked in, I knew I wouldn’t use any of them. As fabulous as you hoped he’d be, Elvis was pretty much the coolest guy on the planet. He turned up his collar, straightened his signature horn-rims and looked down the lens daring me to improve on his own look for the man who redefined pop music in the eighties and has continued to evolve without losing an iota of cool ever since.
ANDYWARH L Cover of American Photographer He never said a word to me. I entered the factory and saw someone make a selection from a row of wigs. They said I could choose a background, so I dragged out one of Andy’s flower paintings and set it up against the wall and did my lighting and waited. I played with the pug in the box at the secretary’s feet. Andy entered, didn’t smile, didn’t shake hands, so I babbled away. To engage him I left my shutter open and let him shoot off his camera flash and virtually take his own photo … more babbling … I got the pug and stuck it in his arms … Great Andy, thanks very much. He left, of course, with no goodbye.
Design by Andrew Moffitt and Mark Moffitt
Gary heery Non Fiction