“Tip of the hat”
New York, 1997
Columbia Records hired me to photograph Will Smith. They had secured the Holiday cover of music industry magazine Hits and set up the arrangements for me photograph Will Smith wearing a Santa hat in between takes on his music video set.
I arrived to the set. The scenes they were shooting were a bit smaller than I was used to seeing. These scenes were just Will and a few dancers.
I walked in and saw an old co-worker, stylist June Ambrose sitting with Jada Pinkett, so I walked over to them and sat down. June introduced me to Jada, and a few minutes later Will walked over and sat down as well. June introduced me to him.
I said to Will that I was there to take his picture for Hits Magazine, and he acknowledged that he knew I’d be there and recommended we take the shots after the next scene.
When I had first arrived Will and his dancers were wearing a white bubble jackets and jeans. For the second scene, Will was dressed in a leopard print fuzzy suit with matching hat.
Seeing Will in this outfit, I knew I had to take a picture of him. We shot at the edge of the set while the technicians were testing the lighting. After about 10 frames, I thanked Will and we sat back down until he had to get back on camera.
After that scene, Will was done for the day. He changed back into his clothes: jeans and a sweatshirt. His publicist handed him a Santa hat, and we walked back towards the set. He put the hat on, I took out my camera, and we shot 3 frames. Boom, we were done.
I thanked him for his time and left the set.