With Sante D’Orazio behind the camera, celebrities will do the craziest things. Famous faces from Angelina Jolie to Pamela Anderson have posed for the photographer. Now D’Orazio presents his favorite photos from the past 10 years in a new book, “Barely Private.”
How do you get famous people to do as you tell them in front of the camera?
I always improvise. My only preparation is the location and the lighting. Then I improvise. I try to put people at ease. Then I wait for an off-guard moment and shoot the pictures, even if it means standing on my head.
How do you manage to say something new with your photographs?
I’ve studied painting most of my life; that’s something I try to bring in. Andy Warhol gave me my first job in New York, and I learned from him that everything is a self-portrait.
Why do people so rarely smile on fashion photos?
Because they take themselves too seriously! They’ve spent too much time looking at themselves in the mirror. I have people who walk in and say “only shoot me from this side.” Then I make a joke, they laugh — and I have my shot!
Are supermodels different from actors in front of the camera?
Very much so. Actors are used to playing a role. The worst thing you can say to them is “just be yourself.” Models are used to taking directions and being beautiful. My job is to distract them from themselves.
What’s your most memorable photo shoot?
The first time I shot Keith Richards. I was extremely nervous, so he gave me a drink before we started. Then he got ready, but I was so drunk that I couldn’t get out of the chair.
Supermodels, rock stars, actors. Is there another profession you dream of photographing?
I once did a series on priests; it was actually artists like Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons dressed up as priests. After that series I realized that I’d love to go to the Vatican and do a photo series of cardinals. And the backdrop would be stunning.