Monday, March 17, 2008

People We've Met: Vincent Sardi, Jr.

New friends always ask me if I've ever photographed any celebrities. I think that they think that what separates guys like me from, say, wedding photographers, is that I must know some famous people. Well... I do know some famous people, at least I've met some, but let's get something straight here. I've met some famous people, but we're not best friends. This is the first in a series of pictures of people I've met (I used we in the title because I usually meet these people with my assistant at my side, hence we). Remember: I've met and photographed these people but they're not my pals, really, so don't be too impressed. I picked this portrait to be first because it was really my entry into the Environmental Portrait biz.

Vincent Sardi, Jr. I was still an assistant when I photographed Sardi. I'd been working for Ted Horowitz when one afternoon he called to say he'd been offered a job by a small restaurant trade magazine and the fee was too small for him to consider it, and he wanted to know if I would shoot it. I spoke to the editor and she was adamant about having me shoot the job on medium format film. I was a poor schmo who didn't own a medium format camera, so I called Ted back and told him he had to loan me his Hasselblads so I could shoot this. After all, he got me into it. He agreed and so I went over to his place, got the cameras and shot the portrait you see above.

I hired my friend Jim Mercer to assist me on this. We went to the restaurant, just off Times Square, and spent the morning looking around and setting up lights and stuff. At one point during the set-up I recall Sardi came in and offered us some coffee, which we accepted. The coffee came and I was busy doing this and that and the coffee was getting cold. Jim whispered in my ear that I should drink the coffee, it's likely going to be the only time I ever drink a $7.00 cup of coffee. Of course, in 1983, we'd not yet heard of Starbuck's.
Above: Hasselblad 500C, 150/4.0 Zeiss Sonnar lens, Kodak Ektachrome 64 film


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