Earlier this year, photographer Valerie Macon had the opportunity to photograph a number of celebrities at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon. This project led to a series of incredible, authentic celebrity portraits.
We recently interviewed Valerie to hear about what was required to capture these images. This interview led to a fantastic story and a lot of incredible insights into both the photography and Hollywood industries.
Because we like this story so much, we're splitting it up into 2 parts. This is the first installment in that 2-part series about this Oscar Nominees Luncheon project by Valerie Macon. Enjoy!
When and where was this body of work created?
I started working on the studio portrait project at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon last year. It was a long process.
First, I needed the agreement of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences in order to set-up a studio and to be able to invite the nominees to come in.
Then, I negotiated a studio space with Beverly Hilton, where the event takes place.
The hardest part of the setup is that we have to contact every nominees’ publicist and convince them to bring their clients to the studio the day of the Luncheon.
How did you get the job?
I’m in charge of the entertainment coverage for AFP (Agence France-Presse) in Los Angeles. AFP is one of the 3 biggest News Wire Agencies in the world.
My job is to develop some projects, and the Oscar Luncheon Nominees portraits was one of the multiple projects that I work on.
Also, I have been working with the Academy team for a long time. AFP covers a lot of their events including the Oscars. They know us, so they gave us their “green light” to set up this studio.
What is it like shooting the Oscar Nominees Luncheon?
Being able to have a studio at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon is a very exciting experience, but also very stressful. It’s a lot of work to prepare it, and it’s also a very long day of shooting.
However, it's great because you get to work with the best actors, directors, cinematographers, composers, and other artists of the year, so it’s impressive and fun! They are all very interesting people.
Was there anything unique about shooting this luncheon versus other events you've shot in the past?
Every event, every studio photoshoot, is different. Every portrait session is different.
The portrait session with the Oscar nominees is no exception.
First, you have to get there very early, as you need to be ready to start shooting at 8:30am. The rules are very strict; the talent can’t be in your studio between 11:30am and 2pm, during the Luncheon. They have to come before or after the ceremony.
Also, like for every portrait session, it really helps to do some research on the people you are going to shoot, in order to be able to capture their personality properly. With the nominees, I made sure that I had seen their movies, in order to show that I was interested in their work.
We'll publish the second half of this interview next week! In the meantime, check out Valerie and more photographers on Dripbook here !
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