Beating Up Beiber

Beating Up Beiber
There are probably a lot of people who'd like to give Justin Beiber a smack in the face. Greg Garry got to do just that. He shares the story behind his last photo shoot at Complex, where he was the PD for the past two years, after the jump...

  • Greg Garry (left, with Beiber)
    Greg Garry (left, with Beiber)

"I try to do the antithesis of the typically boring celebrity portrait, shot on white seamless with a wind machine in their hair, and room for cover lines. My pictures are hard to put type on. I hear that a lot, and consider it the highest compliment. ('Make those designers word hard for the money!'). I love an over-the-top concept, especially if it's funny or sex--preferably both at the same time.

"After working in many TV and film art departments in the 90s, I switched over to the still image. I've been at Wallpaper, House & Garden, O, Budget Living, Flaunt, Radar and, for the past two years, Complex. Now I'm consulting for a few different magazines and iPad apps and working with my own advertising clients. I think photographers enjoy working with me because I'm basically a big kid and will do anything for a good picture, within reason and budget.
"With Justin Bieber we had to do something insane for maximum impact. Bieber was about to turn 18, and was ready to get away from the girly bubblegum image and do a 'big boy' shoot. We pitched his publicist two ideas: one slightly porny with naked girls, and Fight Club. Luckily, they went for the latter. I'd worked with photographer Tony Kelly before and knew he's just deranged enough to get it done the right way. He's one of my favorites. We shot in a smelly old boxing gym in the worst part of LA, under the freeway. I swear there was blood on the walls. Justin was totally nice and cool for such a star, but he tweeted a photo of the sign of the place, and, 10 minutes later, a gaggle of crazed Beliebers, some sadly as old as I, were out front stalking him.  

"I'm still pinching myself that we got away with murder, beating the crap out of America's (or Canada's) sweetheart. I'd love to keep on beating up celebrities for the rest of my career. Line 'em all up!"
blog comments powered by Disqus