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Part 13: Photo Issues II

From deputy photo editor Anna Alexander:

I'm the photo editor on this experiment. I guess I'll fill you in on the juice of what happens next with the photo shoot attempts.  First, I get the contact info for the subject from the editor.  She gets it from the writer, and busts it back to me. My contact was Sony's publicist--he has requested I not reveal his name, so we'll call him The Publicist.

Contacting the subject for a photo shoot usually takes place somewhere between a green-lit pitch and the rough.  I'm a bit late on my post, so it's not quite chronological. There's a reason I have a degree in photography, not literature.

I usually don't call contacts first if email is provided. If I don't hear back for a bit, I attack by phone.  When I first wrote him, I mentioned that I was aware of Kaufman's "no photo shoot" stance, so I inquired about the possibility of doing a self-portrait.

Meanwhile, Scott remembered one of our senior editors, Adam Rogers, spending some time with the director Spike Jonze at a past Wired event.  Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman worked together on Being John Malkovich, and Jonze was a photographer in his early days.

I'm not going to post any emails between The Publicist and I, but I will post my updates to Scott, Nancy, and Jason regarding any info on shooting Charlie.


Part 8: Photo Issues

At WIRED, we assign almost all of our own original photography, as most major American magazines do. We typically start talking about these photo assignments at one of two points in the process:

If a pitch particularly excites us, someone in the photography or design departments will chirp out a style or a name or a loose suggestion as we walk out of the pitch meeting. Schedules get checked, portfolios are called in, access is confirmed, and the wheels start turning.


We'll wait until the assignment letter gets distributed by the assigning editor. At which point, the design department coordinator usually sets up an informal meeting between me, design director Wyatt Mitchell, the art director on deck and the photo editor whose expertise or interest has landed her on the story.

But in this case, neither of the above scenarios happened because a red flag went up once our subject agreed to sit for the story. Kaufman does not sit for magazine photo shoots. That posed a problem; we take originality--the look and feel of the magazine--very seriously at WIRED, and without a quality portrait, it would be difficult to run this story at any length. Here's our first conversation about it: