On my way out of PhotoPlus, I saw this cool man! His name is Louis Mendes and he is a photographer that takes one of a kind portraits, using Polaroids and old fashioned Graflex camera. I approached him and asked if I could take a photo of him. He looked at me and my little Sony RX100III and said, “With that?” Yes, I replied. He said, “OK, but only one shot, no more. That’s how I do it!” I took the challenge and this is the result.
Vaux Le Vicomte palace has a very interesting history. It was built in 1661 by the French minister of finance, Nicolas Fouquet. When the construction was completed, he proudly invited Louis the XIV to visit. That was a big mistake! When Louis the XIV saw it, he became so jealous that he in prisoned Fouquet for life and took all of his assets, including the palace. A lot of historians believe that Vaux Le Vicomte is the most important palace in France because it inspired Louis the XIV to build Versailles, the most luxurious palace in the world!
Cheri Larocque is one of my favorite models. On this photo shoot she showed up with puffy and watery eyes. Very unusual for her. She is a real pro with over 100 magazine covers! She said to me “Nino, yesterday was one of the worst days of my life! I could not sleep and I have been crying all night. I am sorry but you will have to do same magic.” Her eyes are sparkling. That’s what we do!
Eric was just a “surfer dude” until Bruce Weber saw random polaroid taken by a friend. One month later, Eric called me to do test shoot for his portfolio. I asked him, do you have any experience? He replied: “Not really, but I did one photo shoot 2 weeks ago for Calvin Klein with Bruce Weber!”
This is a head shot I did for my Norwegian friend and aspiring actor, Trond. He heard that they were looking for somebody to play the role of painter, Van Gogh, in a music video for Julio Iglesias. During the shoot, we did one traditional head shot and also this one which was more in line of the character they were looking for. My friend got the part!
Willie Gault is considered one of the fastest NFL players of all time! He played for the Chicago Bears team that won Super Bowl XX. He is also the first African-American sports figure to be featured nude in a major ad campaign. It was a very controversial campaign with tag line “Willie Gault left his B.U.M. behind.” In an interview, Gault said “I agreed to do the poster because it is about time a black man was used in a sexual and provocative manner in advertising.” Controversy escalated when this photo ended up as a huge billboard in New York’s Times Square. A less known fact about this photo shoot is while the make up artist was putting oil on Willie’s body and she came to the butt area, she turned to me and said, “Nino, I love my job! Thank you for hiring me!”
I have been blessed with the opportunity to photograph some of the most beautiful celebrity brides. Traci Bingham of “Baywatch” is one of them. She also had one of the most beautiful line up of bridesmaids – half of which were “Baywatch” girls! Celebrities are the most picky when it comes to choosing a photographer for their wedding. Very often they select fashion photographers over someone that specializes in weddings. They always go by recommendation as opposed to a list of vendors. Sometimes it actually helps not to be on vendor list. Trust me… I’ve shot almost 250 weddings and I still don’t call myself a wedding photographer. Happy brides are the best advertising you can have!
Our Country Club in Rancho Mirage hired me to do photos for their website.This is what I have so far. I am happy that I was able to use my dog Teddi and wife Cheryl as a models for one of the photos. Teddi works for treats and Cheryl is still negotiating her fee!
This was my first ad for Giati, and it just might be my favorite. It’s now been 20 years since then this ad and we done close to 40 other Giati ads, mostly for Architectural Digest.On this set, we had a diving team working with us. They had a very short time window to build 3 platforms out of plexiglas. Five minutes after I took this shoot wind started blowing really hard and this was the only variation that we could pull off. I know that some of you are asking, why not do all this in Photoshop? It was definitely a possibility but almost everybody’s opinion was that reflections on the water would look too fake. After looking at the final result, we decided to bring Stonehenge in via Photoshop for some color and drama. The final image is a combination of our good old Cachuma Lake and Stonehenge! Architectural Digest rates their ads every year, and that year the Giati ad came in 3rd! All of the top ten ads were done by big ad agencies, except for ours! We are thinking now to commemorate this ad and we’ll see if Photoshop wins after 20 years.