Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What I learned on the Red Carpet - Part I

I don't know if I'm supposed to do this, but I'm doing it anyway. I shot at some of the hottest parties in town during Sundance in Park City over the last week and it was a blast! I met photographers from L.A., New York, the UK, Washington D.C. who all flew in to cover events in my very own back yard. They all do this for a living, for me, well it was my first time and when a celebrity comes down that red carpet you have to be ready because you only get one chance - and as you'll see, sometimes you don't even get that! There are lots of mini stories and lots more photos of celebrities, but I'll give you a couple highlights (with photos) and I apologize in advance for plastering my name all over them, but they're very expensive images and I don't want anyone using them for free! If you do want to purchase them, feel free to contact me and I'll refer you to the appropriate place.

Paris Hilton - Take One.
Paris Hilton at the Turning Leaf Lounge in Park City during Sundance.

Here's how it works - Paris Hilton was hosting a private dinner at the Turning Leaf Lounge on Saturday night, and on Friday I received a confirmation that I was on the list of photographers set to shoot her arrival. The dinner was set to start at 8:00, we were asked to check-in at 7:00, and as usual I was on-time. One and a half hours later after waiting outside in the 20 degree weather the PR person finally arrives and sets us up inside, but then the fire marshal shows up and he decides there are too many people inside (VIPs apparently inevitably bring more people than planned and you can't tell them no) so they decide to move the media line outside. There was about 8 photographers and 2 TV crews, and when we all spilled outside onto the sidewalk and set up in a line it started to attract quite a crowd and since a crowd wasn't necessarily expected security was VERY unprepared!

When Paris arrived sheer bedlam ensued. By bedlam I mean one photographer was knocked to the ground as the public surrounded Paris, all the while we were all trying to get the shot we needed. You can get an idea of how unsuccessful I was by the image on the left, some photographers had more luck though and got exactly what they needed - but I was on the wrong end of the line, way too close to her when she got out of her car so I was in the middle of the crowd. Security pulled her inside as fast as they could and that was that.

Well, our PR contact was working very hard on getting me back inside to get the shot I needed but Paris' manager didn't want to pull her away from the party just yet - so I, along with a couple other photographers, had to wait some more... did I mention how cold it was? Finally after about a half hour our PR contact came out to talk to give us a status update and suddenly one of the other photographers (the only girl) absolutely lays into her! I mean she was really letting her have it telling her how poorly run the event was, how there wasn't enough security, or enough barricades and how she was knocked down - when she was done berating our PR contact the photographer stormed off and our contact (now pissed) started going back inside. Me and another photographer stopped her and told her how retarded the other photographer was (which she was) and after a couple minutes our contact firmly stated that she was going to make SURE we got our shot. Minutes later a team of security is instructed to stand on either side of us a keep the crowd out of our view finders, Paris was leaving momentarily and they asked her to stop and make sure we could get a photo of her just outside the door... she exited, bedlam ensued, and security held everyone back - and I got my shot! Off to the next event (which I was now an hour late for)... to be continued.