Greg Gorman: KC Star Photographer – Part II

Gorman’s lecture at the Nelson Museum was visually stunning. He showed so many images of famous stars: Brando, DeNiro, Cruise, Iman and Stone – to name a few. He spoke from his head and his heart, as he recalled the names of the famous, the not so famous and some of the unknown characters in America, who were included in his lecture. I lost track of the time. Gorman’s iconic images include: Wirey haired Andy Warhol wearing shades and a leather jacket, The Tootsie poster shot of Dustin Hoffman in a red sequined dress and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, to name a few.(See: Gorman at the Graz)

Gorman began shooting head shots for young aspiring artists in California, and those early connections lead to contacts that were maintained over the years. He called so many names that after a while, it didn’t matter so much who he shot – in a good way. It was the quality of his shots that kept the audience’s attention.  Early on, he moved his lighting off center, to allow for more texture, shading and contrast that lent more interest to his shots and a style that people came to recognize. Using a tight portraiture style, he focuses on the eyes – leaving you to want more.

Gorman tells the story about another photographer challenged, ‘What was he (Gorman) doing for himself?’ That question, and being a ‘control freak’ helped him to discover other avenues and images to shot for his own fulfillment. He began shooting nudes in his portfolio. He also stepped outside of the controlled studio environment for iconic shots of Americans in a project that led him across the country as he shot images of people who were not well known. Now Gorman is teaching workshops and more than dabbling in wine making at his scenic California home, between his many speaking commitments.

The images in this slideshow are of:
  • Johnny Depp – Gorman worked with the Pirates on two films.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – This youthful image of DiCaprio shows off the actor’s eyes and good looks,
  • Cirque de Soleil – Gorman shot these acrobatic twins, Kevin and Andrew Atherton, after seeing them perform.
  • Betty Davis – This image of Betty Davis includes a lesson about “moving pictures,” and
  • Djimon Hounsou – This stunning image of Hounsou was taken of him after applying a facial mud mask and letting it crack.

The Gorman photos included in this post are used with the permission of Greg Gorman.

The music, Uptown, is used with permission of another Gorman subject and KC homeboy, David Basse.

Thanks and Enjoy.


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