Photog Mark Liddell Gets 'Exposed'
Photographer Mark Liddell has spent the past 10 years capturing
On selecting the images included in 'Exposed': I actually went for my favorite pictures and favorite people to start it but we're also planning an 'Exposed 2.' I had to make sure not everyone was in the first book. It's 208 pages, which is great. The best thing about it is it's 30 bucks. It's totally affordable. I didn't want some elitist egotistical book. I wanted something that people who enjoy photography can get, people who enjoy celebrities, people who love the tabloids, people who love celebrities and celebrity gossip...it can be accessible to everyone. (Buy 'Exposed' Here!)
On getting celebrities to relax in front of the camera: I turn into a therapist. Seriously, a photo shoot with me is like going to therapy for a day. I'm just really open with people, I think you've got to be very vulnerable, you've got to be very real. When I came over from England, I had no idea who half the celebrities were. I treat people as people and I guess that's kind of my secret. I'm not in awe of someone just because they are who they are. I'm very real with them. I also do a closed set so it's just me and that person and not ten gawkers all staring because how can you be intimate with someone taking a picture when ten people are all staring at you? It's impossible.
On being star struck: I've had many insecure moments. I turn into a stuttering mess and my manager kicks me under the table. I'm as real as the next person. The biggest one that I freaked out on was Annie Lennox. I grew up listening to her music and she's such an icon for me. I started stuttering and sweating and my sentences weren't making sense. It was really embarrassing.
On what's it like to be a celebrity photographer: We've had really crazy encounters. Luckily enough, I get to shoot a lot of baby photos, my celebrities and private photos. We've had problems with paparazzi, we've had helicopters flying down trying to knock my equipment over. I've had to have armed security guards outside my house while I have the film. I've had to have armed guards at my lab while the film is being processed. I have to rent a different car so the paparazzi can't follow me or know that I'm heading to a celebrity's house to photograph them. It's endless.
On not having a favorite photograph: I really enjoy everyone I photograph, so every photograph to me has a meaning to it. Every photograph is a memory of a day spent with someone and only myself and the celebrity will know what was said. It's a special meaning for me, each picture with each person. There's not that's 'oh my God, that's a standout image.'
On the 'Exposed' message and charity push: The book is very controversial in parts, it's not just pretty pictures. Melissa Etheridge does an interview with me where she talks about gay marriage. Jessica Alba on why she did the naked bound up pictures for Declare Yourself. Annie Lennox talks about HIV, Sharon Stone talks about AIDS. There are a lot of issues in the book because I didn't want it just to be fluff. It has to have substance. I work with the Jenesse Center for the victims of womens domestic abuse. Halle Berry is their main chairperson. Halle is hosting the New York launch for me. It was through Halle that I became involved with the Jenesse Center. I have been a victim of domestic abuse, mental and physical, myself, so it's an issue that strikes a cord with me. That's why we call the book 'Exposed' because we're exposing so many things in this book.
My best friend committed suicide after being declared HIV positive. He was one of the top male models in the world so the book is actually dedicated to him. Therefore, the other charity is the Trevor Project which is suicide prevention for LGBT youth across the country who feel so alone and feel there's no one out there so they want to end their lives. They're two really vital but controversial causes.
On who he'd love to photograph: Madonna and Hillary Clinton. Those are my top two. Madonna actually booked me a few years ago and I was going to do a shoot with her and I herniated my back and had to have immediate back surgery. Unfortunately, the shoot of my life that I wanted, I had to cancel and I don't know if she's forgiven me or even knew that it was because of back surgery but I've been sitting patiently by the phone waiting for it to ring and it hasn't!
Hillary Clinton because I think it's about time iconic images are made of politicians. I am so bored with the photography of politicians and how politicians don't seem to have any time for a photo shoot, obviously but they're always so generic and against a plain wall or some bad wall paper in the White House. I would love to do an iconic image that captures the soul, the spirit and the intelligence of the person. Hillary Clinton fascinates me. I find strong women absolutely beautiful.
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