I had generally stayed away from celebrity photography. The last book I ever bought on the genre was "Individuals: Portraits from the Gap Collection" sometime in 2006 -- until last night. Browsing at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, I found a clearance book by a German photographer, Olaf Heine. Much of my distaste for photographing famous people is the fact that the celebrity icon on the image is easily too distracting for me to fully appreciate the merit of the artwork. Besides, we all have preconceptions of who these people are so that photographs will often reinforce our biases. However, Heine's "Leaving the Comfort Zone, Photographs 1991/2008" just grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go until I made my way to the cash register about twenty bucks poorer. (I just can't believe I've never heard of him or his work before.)
Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters
Kurt Cobain in a backdrop that looks like he's on fire with that Fender Mustang guitar.
Snoop Dogg Samurai. I don't even need to see the face, just his silhouette, which Olaf Heine exploits to the fullest extent.
The crazy James Hetfield of Metallica!