Celebrity photographer Greg Williams's new book Photo Breakdowns offers a new perspective on the methodology behind photographs of 100 Hollywood stars – not to mention more than a few anecdotes.
Greg Williams was born in England and started out as a war photographer before moving into editorial work. His photography has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and & Esquire and he now a Leica ambassador and the official photographer to BAFTA. Previous books have included a series of Bond on Set books offering behind the scenes imagery from the shooting of the legendary secret agent.
This book, however, while still featuring Daniel Craig, has a much broader appeal. It feels like a book which can straddle the coffee table – it's a nice big hardcover – the technique shelf and even the gossip mag pile.
Publisher Cider Mill Press certainly draw attention to the celebs: "Why does Joaquin Phoenix look so relaxed eating a sandwich right after winning an Academy Award? Why was Cate Blanchett’s daughter running through her legs in a hotel at Cannes?"
But as photographers, what kind of thing can we expect? Well as you might imagine the book has Wallace's insights which may well help you reconsider how you handle composition or interaction with subjects.
The Bill Murray picture is an example of which Greg Williams says "You know, there aren’t lot of photos of mine that I have framed at home. In fact, there are very, very few. And this is one of them, 'cause it’s a picture I keep looking at it. It makes me chuckle every time I see it."
"Technically, it’s an incredibly simple photo to take. You just, you know, cut the camera as low down as you can to the ground. It’s interesting, someone was describing how when we first get our ideas of perspective when we’re little kids, and you think of watching a little boy with his toy car and he puts his eye down really low to the ground. And from the ground, his car looks big, like a big car. I sort of think of that when you look at this. Get the camera as close to the ground as you can look up and you start to sort of empower the subject. Make it feel larger than it is.“
Obviously, for this image, there is a slight advantage – Williams and Murray are on the set of Wes Anderson's movie Fantastic Mr Fox so the scale is different!
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