September 1 2014

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The Key To A Good Celebrity Shoot?
Don’t Make It Feel Like A Trip To The Dentist


Poolside with Diddy? Check. Naked with Chloë Sevigny? Check. On stage with Joss Stone? Check. During his 20-year career as a celebrity photographer for the likes of GQ, W, and Vogue, Michael Thompson has gained access to some of the most legendary names in Hollywood and the music industry, from Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to Sting and Britney Spears. The proof’s in his new book, Portraits.

Pride of place—the cover—goes to the star Thompson remembered most fondly out of all the celebrities he’s worked with: Diddy. “He arrived on set at a giant mansion in Malibu, with the whole entourage and it was just a crazy day,” Thompson told at Bar Basque last night, where he celebrated the book with friends, including Leelee Sobieski and Adam Kimmel (above, with Thompson), Glenn O’Brien, Marcus Wainwright, David Neville, and Gucci Westman. “He always comes to the set with an idea in mind and this time, it was sort of Great Gatsby, done in a P. Diddy way.”

That’s the Diddy way. The Thompson way? “I try to create a relaxed atmosphere during hair and makeup, so it doesn’t feel like going to the dentist to get photos done,” the photographer revealed. “I wanted them to lose themselves in the process.” There’s one in particular he’s hoping will undergo that process soon: Robert De Niro. “If he would open himself up to a great still session, it would be wonderful,” Thompson said with a smile.

Photo: Shaun Mader / Patrick McMullan



  1. Robby says:

    Michael Thompson’s work is magnificent!

    shameless plug for my favorite contemporary photographer!

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