Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Andrew Macpherson - Master Of Celebrity Imagemaking
Andrew Macpherson might be from the UK originally, but it’s Hollywood where he’s the king
Despite total command of his toolkit—lights, digital and film-based camera gear and postproduction software—Macpherson always tries to keep their use to a minimum. “It’s a mixture of all of those in different parts,” he says. “On the technical side, I really love lighting. I used to do the theater lighting for our school plays as a kid, which is where I really fell in love with light. I was also a master printer in the days before digital, so I’m also very hands-on in every aspect of the post.”
Macpherson has been using digital-imaging technologies long before they were in vogue. “I’ve been working with Photoshop on Macs since late 1993,” he says, “and before that Alias Eclipse on Silicon Graphics and Barco machines.” He takes great pains to emphasize that “all of these are just tools I use to reflect the vision I have, which is based on one’s own taste, which is then echoed by the creative teams that help make each picture—the styling, hair and make-up.”
Macpherson readily acknowledges that he simply can’t make his vision concrete without the help of talented staff. “In truth, those team players are more important than any part of the technique,” he says, “because they help create what it is that the camera records that day, and that’s the real key. Despite my love of the technique and the tools at our disposal, my goal is always to have my pictures look like simple, clean honest photographs and not digital representations.”
As a way to document and celebrate his journey from working as a young photographer in the UK to his meteoric rise as a portrait photographer, Macpherson recently published Two Million Miles (teNeues). “It was my own celebration of my 20-year journey as a photographer. It took over five years to take it from the original idea to the bookshelf. The process involved a lot of harsh soul-searching while editing, as the final book was cut from 280 pages to 220 late in the game, which changed the storytelling a great deal.”
In describing the reasons for the project, Macpherson explains, “My brief to myself in making the book was to take the reader/viewer on a journey and show them all these different slices of life I’ve been lucky enough to see and be a part of. I didn’t want it to be another monograph of monolithic images that takes itself oh, so seriously. I wanted it to be like a glass of champagne—light, fun and frivolous—and I think the end result speaks for itself.” Indeed.
Andrew Macpherson brings a classical approach to modern celebrity portraiture that has made him a master at balancing his own artistic sensibility with the fierce egocentric dictates of Hollywood. Macpherson will spend hours beforehand delving through his subject’s life and work until he knows how to distill his or her entire essence into a single image. Intensive research and well-planned preconception combined with a renowned technological prowess have made him the go-to guy for agents and magazines in Los Angeles.
To see more of Andrew Macpherson’s photography, visit www.macfly.com.
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