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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
Feb 2016 back issue
by George Holz
Holz Hollywood Back to menu
Photographer George Holz has built his career photographing the stars. In his new book , “Holz Hollywood” he showcases celebrity portraits spanning 30 Years. —CNN George is always focused on making me look the way he sees me when the camera isn’t rolling – capturing the essence of the real person, not just a persona —Mariah Carey Holz Hollywood, by celebrated photographer, George Holz, is a rich narrative of celebrity portraiture spanning over three decades. His portraits are a virtual who's who of popular culture, including Nicolas Cage, Mariah Carey, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway, Dennis Hopper, Michael Jordan, Monica Lewinsky, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, Sigourney Weaver, and countless others. In Holz Hollywood, through his photographs and stories, Grammy® Award winner George Holz presents an intimate glimpse into a glamorous world.
Andie MacDowell, 400 Lafayette Street Studio, New York, 1998 There aren't many people I would've done that pregnancy shot with! There are so many war stories about photographers and how they manipulate people – I never tolerate that – but with George, there's just an essence about him that makes me feel protected and safe. I trust him.” – Andie MacDowell
Angelina Jolie, Primal Light Studio, New York 1991 She was probably a bit more of a wild child at that point . . . this fireball of wonderful energy. She had no entourage. We were shooting at Primal Light Studio in Chelsea, and we passed through the kitchen and there was this big kitchen knife, and she picked it up. I don’t think the editor was around for this. She would have had a heart attack.
Bebe Neuwirth, 1st Precinct—Mounted Division, New York  2003 This was shot down at the 1st Precinct on Ericsson Place. Bebe loves New York and wanted to do something to honor the police after 9/11. She’s so tiny and petite, this horse just dwarfed her. There was something so magical about that moment. That image always stuck with me as one of my favorites. A funny thing happened afterward. I was in my downtown studio and there was a knock at the door, and here was this handsome policeman who’d ridden over on a horse. My assistant thought I did something wrong, but he wanted to look at the pictures we shot. Only in New York will you have a horse tied up outside your studio.
Anna Nicole Smith, Studio One, New York 1993 What struck me most about her was how effortlessly she channeled Marilyn. At 25, she had the same high, breathy, little-girl voice, the same flirtatious mannerisms. Since I had never met her before, I wasn’t quite sure whether she was always that way or not. In retrospect, she was quite convincing. A few times, I actually thought that this was what it must have been like to photograph Marilyn. Most of my favorite shots were taken off set, in the makeup room between shots, and just hanging out. There was a certain fragility about her, almost like a child in a woman’s body. She loved the camera; it loved her.
Donald Trump, New York, 1999 He wasn’t what you’d expect. He was not so much that strong presence you see on TV. He was very meticulous. We set up in his board room, it was literally 15 minutes. He arrived exactly on time. He was professional and cordial. He came kind of hair- and makeup-ready. There wasn’t a lot of fussing with that on set. He was considering running for president back then. He’s an entertainer.
Diane Lane, Santa Fe, 1995 I love the dramatic light in the high desert. Diane drove up in her old truck and took us out to her favorite trail outside Santa Fe. We were setting up for the shoot when I caught her checking her makeup in the mirror and got this shot. You have to be ready. The best shots are often unexpected –– that’s when you catch people in their most natural state.
Heather Graham, The Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, 1998 Heather Graham had a quintessential starlet look. I was delighted when Chris Dougherty called from Premiere magazine, asking me to shoot her for their “Vanguard Hollywood” issue. We chose the Alexandria Hotel, a storied, admittedly rundown place, built in the early 1900s, once home to legends like Greta Garbo, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino. I remember passing the Great Ballroom where Valentino was rumored to have given dance lessons to wealthy middle-aged women. We passed marble columns and aimless transients, then took a squeaky, dimly-lit elevator upstairs. There we shot in Charlie Chaplin's old suite, which had delicate northern light. It smelled of liquor and stale cigarettes, but the beauty of its past was unmistakable.
Jack Nicholson, Smashbox Studios, Los Angeles, 1997 I was shooting Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt for Entertainment Weekly magazine. I shot them together, and then I asked him if I could do a personal shot. He said, “OK, one roll.” So I shot one roll of film — ten exposures — and he said,  “OK, you got it” and walked off set. That was it! There was one shot of him smoking a cigarette in profile that became very iconic.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Beverly Hills, 1997 Jada was a force of nature! Strong, smart, funny, and muscular. She had this amazing sculpted body, and she was so petite. There was something almost unreal about her look –– mythological, idealized. I kept thinking of statues of greek goddesses, so I told her I wanted to put her up on a mantlepiece like an Oscar. She was happy to comply!  My two assistants hoisted her up on the narrow shelf and she balanced there in stilettos.
Carly Simon, Martha’s Vineyard, 1995 This was shot at her house in Martha’s Vineyard. We were there most of the day, and she was playing “You’re So Vain” on the piano. Chills were going up my spine. The first thing that struck me was her magnetic and mesmerizing smile. I shot two entire rolls of still lifes of her amazing lips. This shot was very spontaneous. She was having lobster for dinner, so she thought she’d bring a live lobster into the tub with her.
Joaquin Phoenix, Belle Café, NY, 1996 Joaquin was one of these guys you had to be spontaneous with. He was so creative and, honestly, a little unpredictable, you just had to kind of trust the process, and trust him. It took about 5 seconds for him to move away from the lights and backdrops, so I followed him, sans tripod, and got these shots as he moved through the kitchen, put on an apron, and started washing dishes in the little café where we were shooting. With a guy like Joaquin, the r eward for trusting him is the genuineness he gives back. He’s all there. I just follow and shoot.
Madonna, Hollywood, CA  1983 I met Madonna at the rather dilapidated Chateau Marmont Hotel in Hollywood, which, at that time, was Hollywood’s equivalent of New York’s Chelsea Hotel. She invited me up to her funky bungalow room where she had all her clothes laid out on the bed: lots of black, leather, chains, crucifixes, and hats. I was in heaven. We threw our choices into a duffle bag, and walked down Sunset Blvd to a nearby small basement studio I had rented from a friend. Madonna even helped me carry a few pieces of my equipment. I shot her for about 2 hours in color and black-and-white. This unassuming young woman was simply amazing in front of the camera: full of energy, sexual, charismatic, and incredibly photogenic. The image of her dancing to “Lucky Star” as the cassette blasted on the boom box is forever etched in my memory. My own private concert.
Steven Spielberg, Industria Studio, New York 1993 I was commissioned by Newsweek in 1993 to photograph Steven Spielberg for the cover, featuring his “Movie of the Year,” Schindler’s List. I experienced such emotions when I got the call for this job, ranging from nervousness to excitement. But underlying these emotions, I had a profound sense of gravitas: Schindler's List was life changing, and I related to it very personally. My family was persecuted in Nazi Germany. My father barely escaped as a young man; his parents and sister came over several years later. Other relatives were not so lucky. They died in the camps. This assignment resonated very deeply within me.  
Monica Lewinsky, Washington Street, New York 2000 We were 10 blocks north of where we lived, and 2.5 miles north of the World Trade Center that would be tragically gone the following year. George and I were neighbors.  Literally. His studio pied-a-terre was across the hall.  This was my first apartment in New York and, also being the first I had selected myself, it desperately reflected the ‘me’ I wanted to be. Having interesting neighbors ticked a box. This shoot for New York mag was the second time I had been photographed by George. The first, was only a few hours earlier. It was a cool, crisp evening and my memory of the shoot was it was one of the  moments that left me feeling I belonged in New York… I was a New Yorker.”  —Monica Lewinsky
Don Cheadle, Los Angeles, CA  1997 I was doing a story for Premiere Magazine with the entire cast of Boogie Nights. We had this great 70s house as a location,and perfect 70s ‘porn’ styling. Don was a consummate method actor, very believable in his part and this photo.
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