November 14, 2010- Burlesque Premiere
As the elevator door opens, I walk into the courtyard, that is packed with people ranging from tourists to locals. As I walk to the theatre, the crowd grows larger and larger. I’ve now entered an area that is hard to describe unless you’ve been there. I’m blinded by flashing lights. As I finally make my way to a closed off area with a security guard. I then walk over to media checking in. As I walk in, I get stared at by everyone around. As the names start being called, I see one spot after the other being taken. By the time they call me there are no spots anywhere on the Red Carpet. Thankfully the Sony PR person lets me stand in front of the entrance to the carpet. Instead of being in an area with hundreds of photographers, I’m in a area with only a few. My biggest problem would be that I was too close and directly on top of some of the stars on the carpet. The carpet was so packed that it created a traffic jam of celebrities and PR people directly in front of me. One of the PR people comes over to me and introduces her client Diane Warren (publicist Ronni Chased sadly was shot to death later that night in Beverly Hills). So you ask how did this guy from Yonkers New York, with no photography experience, no professional equipment, representation, or industry connections get here? The answer is, it was all an accident.
February 2, 2009 – “He’s just Not That Into You” Premiere
As many of you know besides being a lifelong music fantatic, I also worked with a number of musicians from promoting to managing. One of our promotional tools we used was to pass out song sampler CDs with flyers for our shows. After passing out 100’s of CDs at a Depeche Mode show on Hollywood Blvd, I was eager to find another public event where there would be large numbers of people confined to one area.
As I was thinking about this while being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, I saw that there were mobs of people on the Blvd. in front of the Chinese Theatre. I parked my car and took out my bag of CDs and walked towards the crowd. I approached a closed off area where I could see a red carpet and tons of press. I looked up to see that it was the World Premiere for the film “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
As some of you know, I’m a huge Drew Barrymore fan and meeting her was on my things to do in life list. I asked the guard why there were more people across the street where they wouldn’t be able to see the premiere instead of being on the same side of the street. He told me that the fans were hoping for the stars to go across the street and sign autographs. I asked him if that ever really happens. He told me it depends on the actor. Thinking it would be a long shot I decided to run back to my car and grab my point and shoot and an old press looking pass I had in my car.
As I make my way to an area near where the stars are being dropped off, I see a black SUV pull up. The door opens to hundreds of screams. Out walks a beautiful red-head in a gorgeous pink flowered dress. The crowd screams “Scarlett” (Johansson). All of the sudden I feel like I’m in a dream. She starts to walk across the street and ends up directly in front of me. The only thing I can think of at this point is telling her “That’s such a beautiful dress. She then reaches out her hand and touches my Police concert t-shirt telling me how much she loves my shirt. As she walks off to sign autographs the next car comes followed by another. By then end of the evening, I had photographed and met most of the stars. Finally the last car pulls up and out walks Drew Barrymore. She smiles and waves to the fans but does not go across the street. Knowing that she was there as a producer and actress, I didn’t have high hopes of meeting her. However this would change on future photo shoots.
March 2011- My Red Carpet Debt
After my close encounter with the cast of “He’s Just Not That Into You”, I started to think. I was so shocked that a random person could get so close to a celebrity. It made me think of several idea for possible films. I decided to take this new hobby and turn it into something that I could write about. I started posting pictures on social networking sites and was contacted by an online wire service agency. I started shooting Red Carpets for small events and ended up working my way on the Red Carpet for the G.I. Joe premiere. What made this even crazier is the entire time, I was using my point and shoot.
Finally just before covering the “How To train Your Dragon” premiere I got a Nikon D- 5000. Though I’m still severely out gunned it has helped even the playing field. In the past month, I made my official concert photography debt covering the Lady GaGa concert in Oakland and Britney Spears’s Good morning America concert in San Francisco. Next month I’ll be covering an event at the Playboy mansion along with anything else that comes my way. Welcome to “ The Outsiders Guide To The Inside of Hollywood”. I’ll be Blogging about everything from my past experiences to my current and future ones, as well some current events. Follow me on Twitter for tweets live from some of Hollywoods coolest events. https://twitter.com/#!/Jonathanshensa