I had the privilege and honor of photographing Mr. Michael Douglas at the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY as he became the 69th recipient of the prestigious George Eastman Award.
This award was established in 1955 in recognition of the minds, personalities and voices that have shaped the landscape of photography and motion pictures. It has been given to actors, actresses, directors and cinematographers, including Charles Chaplin, Frank Capra, Gary Cooper, Fred Astaire, Richard Gere, Audrey Hepburn, Isabella Rosselini, Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep and James Stewart, just to name a few.
Since photographing the event, everyone has asked me the same two questions. No, Catherine didn't come. And to the second question "So, what is he like?!", here is my answer. I spent 7 hours either directly working with or in close proximity to Mr. Douglas, and I must say that he is one of the classiest men I have ever met. Between 3pm and 10pm that day, Mr. Douglas must have shook the hands of and conversed with over 300 people, and the consideration and attention he gave to every single person was genuine and unwavering. His gratitude for winning this award and for the world-class hospitality of the George Eastman House staff was at the forefront of his demeanor throughout the entire day.
One of the highlights for me was getting to hear him share some stories about growing up on the film sets of his father Kirk Douglas (now 98), as well as other stars of that time, including Frank Sinatra. The team at Eastman had unearthed many photographs from the archives, stills and behind-the-scenes shots on his dad's movie sets, and Michael shared his memories of those moments from his viewpoint as a young boy.
I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to work with, photograph and meet such a world-renowned talent. Rochester is fortunate to be home to the George Eastman House and organization, not just due to it's rich legacy in the photographic and cinematic history of the world - but also because of it's lasting relevancy today. If you haven't visited the George Eastman House, it's time. It's an incredible experience for all ages, featuring not only historic treasures, but also current work featured in their gallery. Visit their website to learn more about the rich photographic and cinematic legacy they are upholding in Rochester!
Want to see all the images from the event? Visit the gallery here.