How To Take Robert De Niro’s Photo
BRIAN Appleyard interviews Robert De Niro, in London to plug his new film. The Family.
My private mission is to take his photograph. Big stars are funny about such things — they usually need their image doctored by trusted retouchers, Photoshop jockeys — but not, I have persuaded myself, really big stars, the ones who are too big to care. I don’t know what he will say when I ask: Travis Bickle’s “You talkin’ to me?”, from Taxi Driver, perhaps. I’ll leave it to the last minute.
“How’s your health?” I ask nervously. He had prostate cancer in 2003. “It’s fine,” he says, touching some pricy Dorchester wood. “I’m going to make it. I’m sure we can make it.”
The time has come. “Can I ask you a favour?”
“Can I take your picture?”
“Sure, what do you want me to do?”
“Nothing,” I say, meaning I want him to be Robert De Niro.
I fish out the Leica and shoot three frames.
Tom Miles has more on how to photograph a celeb:
Don’t be surprised when a celeb turns up with several people in tow — some celeb shoots can become very crowded once you factor in people from your side (an assistant, your client, hair and make-up, a stylist and so on) and their side (agents, managers, friends, family). Try not to let this distract you, and remember the golden rule of photographing people: There’s only room for one ego on set, and that’s the one in FRONT of the camera. Leave yours at the door. Be prepared to flatter, but not simper. One of the best approaches I’ve always found is to talk about what they’re doing, rather than simply saying: “I loved you in that film; you were really cool.” Ask intelligent questions about their work (you did do your research about them, didn’t you?)…
“Also, when your part is done, get out of there as fast as you can!”
And the golden rule: your job is to entertain the reader. That’s where your loyalty lies.