Photographer And Director Bruce Weber

I was in Cannes shooting for Intersection Magazine during the glitzy Cannes Film Festival. Photographer and Bruce Weber’s documentary film “Let’s get Lost” was featured in the festival and so the legendary photographer was there promoting the film. Now you have to understand, one of my earliest photographic influences was photographer and director Bruce Weber. I instantly fell in love with Bruce’s optimistic and romantic vision of American lifestyle and the athletic body. Needless to say, I was excited!

Weber finished his interview with the magazine’s editor, then casually walked over to me and said, “So you’re the photographer?” I’m not sure if the words actually came out, I was so nervous I think I just squeaked, but I tried to say, “That’s me!” He shook my hand, gave me a big smile, and asked me where I wanted to shoot.

My assistant and I had set up on a dock, just 50m from the interview, so I lead the prolific photographer and we chatted along the way. He asked me where I was from and how I got into photography. When I told him that he was one of the photographers who inspired me to work in fashion and lifestyle photography (the other being Richard Avedon) he smiled and said, “Really?” He seemed almost surprised. I think that’s one of the most amazing things about Bruce, he’s seemingly unaffected by his status as one of the elite and highest paid photographers in the world, and we see that in his amazing body of work.

I chose the dock because some of my favorite Bruce Weber photographs take place on the boat dock at the photographer’s lake house, with the water of the lake in the background. I wanted a similar ambiance so I positioned Bruce on the dock with water, sky, and clouds behind him. Just as I raised my camera his publicist leaned towards me and said, “You have 5 minutes with Mr. Weber.” The clock was ticking.

It’s hard to describe the session because it wasn’t like any other portraiture session I’ve ever had. We didn’t talk much, we just sort of mirrored one another and made fun of one another. I told him he looked like a Samurai warrior, at which point he broke into a karate stance and started throwing karate chops and kicks all around. He told me I looked like a pirate and I started saying things like, “Thar she blows Captain!” and “Ayyy matey….it’s a pirate’s tale I have to tell” as I snapped away. It was absolutely mad, and I had a blast! His publicist looked amused and eventually just walked away shaking his head and giggling. With about 30 seconds left I said, “Show me how you take pictures.” Without missing a beat he raised his hands, as if he were holding one of his Pentax 6×7 cameras in his hands, squinted his eyes to focus, and we both went “CLICK!”

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