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May 7th, 2012

Music Photographer Jim McCrary Dies at 72

Jim McCrary, the former A&M Records staff photographer who shot the cover of Carole King’s Tapestry and other rock-and-roll albums, died on April 29, 2012, “of complications from a chronic nervous system disorder,” the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 72 years old.

McCrary was born and raised in Los Angeles. He was a self-taught photographer who eventually studied at Pasadena City College and Art Center College of Design. McCrary began his career as a staff photographer at various portrait studios and in the photography department of Rockwell International, a manufacturing company involved in the aircraft, space and consumer electronics industries, amongst others.

In 1967 he became the chief photographer for A&M Records and ended up photographing over 300 album covers during the seven years he worked there. Some of his most famous covers include Carole King’s Tapestry, the Carpenters’ Ticket to Ride and Joe Crocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen. He also shot related publicity and advertising work for Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Cat Stevens, Peter Frampton, Herb Alpert and other musicians.

After leaving the label, he owned his own studio in Hollywood until 1990. He then co-founded Pix Inc., a professional camera store in Los Angeles.

McCrary is survived by his son, Jason McCrary, and his brothers Wylee Dale McCrary and Doug McCrary.

May 4th, 2012

Vogue, Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Magazine Win National Magazine Awards for Photography

From Richard Ross's "Juvenile Injustice" photo essay in the October 2011 issue of Harper's Magazine. © Richard Ross

Vogue won the prize for best overall use of photography at the 2012 National Magazine Awards, held in New York City last night. Given out by the American Society of Magazine Editors, the awards honor excellence in magazine editorial. Vogue beat out four other finalists in the category of Photography: GQ, Interview, National Geographic and Virginia Quarterly Review. The fashion title’s photography department is lead by photography director Ivan Shaw.

In the News and Documentary Photography category, Harper’s Magazine won for “Juvenile Injustice,” a photo essay on juvenile detainees by photographer Richard Ross. He worked with art director Stacey D. Clarkson and assistant art director Sam Finn Cate-Gumpert on the assignment. In the same category, Harper’s Magazine was also nominated for “Uncertain Exodus,” photographed by Ed Ou. The other finalists were National Geographic for “Too Young to Wed,” photographed by Stephanie Sinclair; The New York Times Magazine for “From Zero to 104,” photographed by Damon Winter; and Time for “Birds of Hope,” photographed by James Nachtwey.

The New York Times Magazine won the Feature Photography award for “Vamps, Crooks & Killers.” Alex Prager shot actors dressed as iconic villains for the photo essay and accompanying video. She worked with director of photography Kathy Ryan, deputy photo editor Joanna Milter, design director Arem Duplessis and editor Hugo Lindgren on the assignment. The other nominees in the category were National Geographic for “Taming the Wild,” photographed by Vincent J. Musi; Time for “Portraits of Resilience,” photographed by Marco Grob; Vogue for “Lady Be Good,” photographed by Steven Klein; and W for “Planet Tilda,” photographed by Tim Walker.

For a complete list of winners, visit magazine.org.

Related Article:

ESPN, W, New York Times Magazine Win 2011 National Magazine Awards for Photography

April 26th, 2012

Jim Marshall’s Estate Sues “Mr. Brainwash” and Google for Copyright Infringement

John Coltrane Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta Mr. Brainwash

The estate of iconic music photographer James “Jim” Marshall filed a copyright infringement claim against Thierry Guetta (aka Mr. Brainwash) and Google for the unauthorized use of his images for advertising purposes. The brief states that copies of Marshall’s photos were used as part of a promotion for Google Music, a new online music service, as well as in derivative works.

According to the brief, for a Google event held at Guetta’s studio, the artist designed a backdrop using blown-up copies of photos Marshall made of musicians John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix, which “constituted unauthorized reproductions and display” of the images. The backdrop was placed to the side of the stage where the announcement for Google Music was made, and therefore Google is also liable for copyright infringement since the images were used to promote its new product, Marshall’s estate claims.

Google Music Event

Additionally, the brief states that Guetta used five of Marshall’s photos to make derivative works, some of which he is currently selling on his Web site. It appears that Marshall’s images of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins and Stanley Turrentine, as well as his group shots of Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Gerald Wilson, and Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones, were screen printed on to paper and then altered by either changing the color palette or adding words to the background.

Jimi Hendrix Jim Marshall Thierry Guetta

The brief is asking that all infringing works be turned over to the estate and that all profits derived from the infringing works be awarded to the estate. Additionally, its asking that any damages, attorneys’ fees and costs related to the trial be reimbursed.

This isn’t the first time Guetta has been accused of infringing on a photographer’s copyright. In June 2011, a federal judge ruled in favor of photographer Glen E. Friedman, who claimed that his image of hip-hop group Run-DMC was used as the basis of several works by Guetta. A settlement with Friedman has been reached, but the terms were not disclosed.

Additionally, Guetta has another copyright claim pending from photographer Dennis Morris. While Guetta admitted he did use Morris’s photo of Sex Pistol’s bassist Sid Vicious in derivative works of art, he claimed he did not know it was a copyrighted image. The two parties are currently working on a settlement agreement.

Neither Guetta nor Google responded immediately to a request for comment.

Update 4/27/12: Jim Prosser, manager global communications and public affairs for Google, responded to our request for comment by stating that Google has not received a copy of the complaint yet and therefore he cannot comment on it.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Sid Vicious was the drummer for the Sex Pistols. The text has been corrected.

Related Articles:

Judge Rules for Photog In Copyright Suit Over RUN DMC Photo

April 19th, 2012

That New Book Smell

Images © Koto Bolofo. Left: Perfumer Geza Schoen. Right: Paper Passion.

When bibliophiles celebrate print they often talk about the weight or feel of paper, about color, binding, typeface, design… but scent?

Leave it to print purists and publishers Gerhard Steidl and Karl Lagerfeld to pay attention to the often-overlooked, olfactory component of the print experience. It was Lagerfeld who first pointed out the scent of print to Steidl, which led to a collaboration between Steidl, Wallpaper* magazine and master perfumer Geza Schoen to create Paper Passion perfume—”For Booklovers.”

The scent debuted this week at at the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition in Milan, which runs through April 22 at the headquarters of men’s clothing designer Brioni, and it will be available to the public on May 30.

The perfume comes hidden inside the pages of a Steidl-published book, designed by Lagerfeld, which includes various odes to the printed page and its characteristic scent.

As Lagerfeld has said, “The smell of a freshly printed book is the best smell in the world.” Backlit touch-screens may be the future, but the future doesn’t smell nearly as nice.

April 13th, 2012

Lawsuit Raises Questions About Francesco Scavullo’s Archives and Foundation

A lawsuit filed by a disgruntled business partner of late fashion and celebrity photographer Francesco Scavullo has cast a spotlight on a charitable foundation that he established prior to his death in 2004, raising questions about the condition of Scavullo’s archive and the foundation’s fulfillment of its obligations under Scavullo’s will. Court papers and IRS filings suggest the foundation–which was supposed to keep Scavullo’s legacy alive–has gone dormant.

Philadelphia-based Motion Picture Group, a marketing group established before Scavullo’s death to help the photographer promote and license his archives, has sued the New York-based Francesco Scavullo Foundation for breach of oral contract in federal court in Philadelphia. MPG is seeking more than $150,000 in compensation for marketing efforts that it says it undertook on behalf of the foundation under informal agreements prior to an acrimonious split earlier this year. (more…)

April 9th, 2012

Quincy Jones Denies Copyright Infringement Claim

Music producer Quincy Jones has filed court papers denying that he infringed photographer Michael D. Jones’s copyrights when he used a portrait (shown at right) the photographer had shot in 1995.

The music producer says the photographer shot the disputed image on a work-for-hire basis, and therefore doesn’t own the copyright. Quincy Jones also says that even if Michael Jones does own the copyright, the photographer transferred rights to the image for use by Quincy Jones and other defendants.

The photograph, showing Quincy Jones at a recording session, appeared in ads for a line of audio headphones. Michael Jones says he provided an 8×10 print to Quincy Jones, who allegedly provided it to Harman International, the headphone manufacturer, without the photographer’s permission. The image also appeared in a music book.

Harman International, which is a co-defendant in the case, has also denied Michael Jones’s copyright infringement allegations on the grounds that the images were works for hire.

The defendants have yet to produce a work-for-hire agreement signed by the photographer. Without that, they may have to prove that the photographer’s working conditions amounted to a work-for-hire arrangement. Quincy Jones has hinted that he will try to do that by asserting that Michael Jones was “paid in full” for his services, and that he did the work with photographic equipment supplied by the Los Angeles recording studio that allegedly hired him.

The studio, Qwest Records, was a joint venture between Quincy Jones and Warner Brothers Records.

Michael Jones has alleged that he was not paid in full for the 1995 shoot because he refused at the time to sign away his rights to the images. He has also alleged that representatives for Qwest tried to “strong-arm” him in 2010 to accept $6,500 for all rights to the disputed image. The photographer says he refused, but Quincy Jones–and Harman–say that Michael Jones accepted the offer. Quincy Jones also denies that Qwest representatives “attempted to strongarm” the photographer.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Claim
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

April 5th, 2012

Quincy Jones Co-Defendant Denies Copyright Infringement Charges

©Michael D. Jones. The photographer says this portrait of Quincy Jones, shot in 1995, was recently used without permission in ads for audio headphones and other applications.

A co-defendant in the copyright infringement case against celebrity music producer Quincy Jones has denied the infringement claims, which were filed in February by Los Angeles photographer Michael D. Jones.

Harman International, which allegedly used a portrait of Quincy Jones without the photographer’s permission to promote a line of its audio headphones, says that Michael Jones shot the portrait under work-for-hire terms. Therefore, the photographer doesn’t own the copyright to the images and can’t claim infringement, Harman says. (The company has yet to produce evidence of a work-for-hire agreement, however.)

Harman adds that even if Michael Jones does own the copyrights to the image, he transferred those rights to Harman. As evidence of that, Harman points to a rights transfer contract drafted by its attorneys, but Michael Jones’ signature is conspicuously absent from that contract.  For good measure, Harman says its use of the portrait was “fair use,” so Michael Jones’s permission wasn’t required.

“Any and all uses that it made of any such photographic images were authorized, lawful and not infringing of any alleged rights,” Harman asserts repeatedly.

Harman says it is responding to the claims only for itself, not Quincy Jones or the other defendants, including music publisher Hal Leonard Corporation, which also used the portrait.

But Harman’s response presages those of the other defendants, and the dispute is likely to boil down to two questions: whether Michael Jones photographed Quincy Jones under a work-for-hire arrangement, and if not, whether Michael Jones subsequently transferred usage rights to the defendants.

Michael Jones says he shot the images in 1995 during several sessions at Qwest Records. He provided Quincy Jones with some 8×10 prints, but alleges he was not paid for shooting the last two studio sessions because he refused at the time to sign over his rights to the images.

Years later, in 2010, a Qwest Records executive allegedly offered Michael Jones $5,000 for what amounted to a copyright transfer of one of the images so Harman could use it to promote a line of audio headphones endorsed by Quincy Jones. The photographer says he demanded $10,000 for a license, and that he subsequently refused a counter-offer of $6,500. Allegedly without any license agreement, Harman ended up using the images anyway.

A court date has not been set.

Related:
Photog Sues Quincy Jones for Infringement, Says He Was “Strong-Armed”

March 21st, 2012

Frank Ockenfels 3 Shoots the New Mad Men Campaign

Advertisement for season five of the AMC show Mad Men. Frank Ockenfels 3 photographed the lead characters for the campaign. Courtesy of AMC and Frank Ockenfels 3.

This Sunday, March 25, the Emmy award-winning television show Mad Men returns to Sunday nights. As a build up to the season five premiere, AMC has done a major marketing push with print, online and outdoor ads.

Have you been wondering who is behind the retro-looking images? It’s Los Angeles-based Frank Ockenfels 3, who is represented by Eye Forward. Working with AMC and The Refinery’s Brad Hochberg, Ockenfels photographed all of the show’s leads in character. In a recent interview with The New York Times, show creator Matthew Weiner said the central image of the campaign, which shows Don Draper staring at his own reflection in a store window, is supposed to be “dreamlike.” It’s also meant to build up anticipation of the show’s premiere, since Mad Men had a longer than usual break between season four and season five due to negotiations between Weiner and the network.

To learn about other recent assignments photographers have landed, check out the latest posts in our biweekly column “Who’s Shooting What” (subscribers only).

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March 21st, 2012

Ellen Degeneres Not Amused By Photog’s Billboard Stunt

An artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Artist's rendering of the billboard Madalyn Ruggiero attempted to put up for six weeks in West Hollywood.

Television personality and talk show host Ellen Degeneres—and her show’s lawyers—were not amused by an Ohio freelance photographer’s recent publicity stunt, and their legal action has cost the photographer thousands of dollars.

Photographer Madalyn Ruggiero created a small business by putting costumes on her dog, Denali, photographing him, then selling greeting cards bearing the images. Buoyed by the success of her cards and Denali’s 27,000+ Facebook fans, Ruggiero bought billboard space in West Hollywood in an attempt to get Ellen Degeneres to put Denali on her TV talk show. “Ellen,” the billboard read, “Denali the dog wants to meet you!”

Just days after the billboard went up on February 13, the show’s lawyers ordered the billboard company to take it down because, they argued, it traded on Degeneres’s name and likeness (Ruggiero dressed Denali up to look like Degeneres for the billboard).

Ruggiero says that the billboard company’s lawyers sought and received approval from Warner Brothers, which owns and produces Degeneres’ show, prior to putting up the billboard. The ad should have been displayed for six weeks but was up for only a few days.

“I was shocked and confused why my harmless billboard was removed,” Ruggiero says. “When I spoke with the billboard company they were very cold and told me nothing.”

The LA Times, Today Show and MSNBC have all published stories about Ruggiero’s run-in with Degeneres’ lawyers.

“I meant no harm with my billboard,” Ruggiero explains. “I am disappointed and confused. Denali is getting old and I thought trying to get Denali on Ellen’s would be fun. I always thought she was a huge dog lover, but I was mistaken.”

Now Ruggiero is out thousands of dollars for a publicity stunt gone awry. Should Ruggiero have known better? Maybe. Should we be surprised that Degeneres responded with legal threats rather than a sense of humor? Probably not.

March 16th, 2012

Russell Brand Charged for Throwing Photog’s iPhone Through Window

Notorious phone hurler Russell Brand turned himself in to police, who booky-wooked him for criminal damage to property (©It Books)

New Orleans police charged actor Russell Brand yesterday with two misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property for throwing a photographer’s iPhone through a window. Bail was set at $5,000 and Brand was sent on his way.

Brand turned himself in after police issued a warrant for his arrest in response to photographer Timothy Jackson’s complaint about the phone-throwing incident. Brand allegedly snatched Jackson’s iPhone and threw it through the window of a New Orleans law office as the photographer tried to take his picture earlier this week.

Brand later made light of his actions on his Twitter feed with a post that said: “Since Steve Jobs died I cannot bear to see anyone use an iPhone irreverently, what I did was a tribute to his memory.”

According to news reports, the damage caused by Brand totaled $700. He has reportedly already paid $240 for the replacement of the broken window.

Related:
Russell Brand Faces Arrest for Destroying Photog’s iPhone as ‘Tribute’ to Steve Jobs