Albert Watson on his career and iconic images | Phase One

Albert Watson on his career and iconic images | Phase One

I love photography. It is a deep passion.
You find something that you just love then you are very lucky in life to find that. When you have that kind of passion that is a gigantic help. I had a really good training. I was trained
as a graphic designer and then I was at film school. I had 7 years of university
education so combine that with passion and you have at least a foundation
for a good career. I started shooting fashion, then I
started shooting for different magazines, Vogue magazine, and then at the same time I actually went into celebrities so I ended
up working for all Vogues across the world. I shot for all of the Vogues and for years
and years. I was always working on a path of fashion and also celebrities so I’m used
to handling all kinds of celebrities. You come in as a professional and
you are polite and respectful to everybody. That is one of the good tips.
That you should treat everybody well. It doesn’t matter if you are photographing a porter in a market in Marrakech or you are
photographing the kind of Marocco. You have the same sympathetic approach to
everybody. Be nice to everybody, basically. Alfred Hitchcock was a really good gourmet chef
and he was going to give his recipe for cooking goose in the magazine. Initially, the magazine wanted
me to do a shot of him holding a plate with a cooked goose, and strangely enough, I actually
dug my heels in and said I think it is funnier if he is holding a plucked goose before he
cooks it. Because he is going to give you the recipe rather than it is finished. They
thought it was a good idea. I got some christmas decorations to tie around the goose’s neck,
so if you look closely at that shot you can see them. To me it was funnier that he was
holding it, because it looked like he was strangling it. It is much more Hitchcock and
that was part of the success of the shot. There is a beauty edition of Vogue called
Vogue Beauty. The Beauty editor called me and said: We have got this young girl in London,
Kate Moss. I had no idea who Kate Moss was, of course nobody did. I still think that nude
I got of her was one of the best shots ever taken of her. I said: Just think of yourself
as a wood nymph in the woods or something like that and she understood that. If you
look at that shot she looks very much like that. A bit like an elf or something. I was asked to do a series of pictures
of the most powerful people in America. I did a lot of different people including Bill Gates
and Warren Buffett and Condoleezza Rice. And one of the people we had to do was Steve Jobs. When you think of a Mac or iPad, it is pretty
simple. And the shot is pretty simple and direct. I said: I’d like you to think about
your next project and think about that some people might not let you do it. And that is
where that look came from. He looked at it and said: This is going to be good.
Do not question me. He looks pretty iconic in that picture. When he died, and the book came out,
they used that shot on the cover. I’m not going to die next Tuesday so I have
still got a lot to to. I have got two books next year to work on and then I have exhibitions.
We have four gallery shows next year and two museum shows. I actually like working.

19 thoughts on “Albert Watson on his career and iconic images | Phase One”

  1. Ask Albert!

    Here's your chance to pick the brains of one of the world's most successful fashion and commercial photographers over the last four decades!

    We will meet with Albert next week, so write your questions below and the five best ones will be rewarded with a Capture One Pro license as well Albert's reply.

    First, check out this video where Albert talks about his career and the story behind some of his most iconic images: https:

  2. I atteneded a workshop back in 1981 in NYC put on by Albert Watson. what an amazing photographer. Right up there with the greats Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Arthur Elgort just to name a few. i had no idea he had shot the iconic Steve Jobs photo.

  3. This is absolutely amazing. Especially when you see some of the iconic shots of Jobs, Moss, Shakur, and others and not only do they trigger emotion, but they trigger MEMORY. 

    If I had one question, it would be this to ask of Albert. In the past 40 years, with all the knowledge and experience that he has, If he woke up tomorrow, 40 years younger, and starting all over, what path would he take in the next year to travel down a similar road of success?


  4. Great insight into an Iconic photographers background and how Passion fuels his career! Really enjoyed this video!

  5. Always a pleasure to see a true master at his / her work. That picture of Steve Jobs speaks more than thousands words, highlighting the magic that happens between a subject and an observer.

  6. My highest respects to the guy carrying the Phaseone case. having known the weight of that thing full of SK lenses Your the hero not the photographer.

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