Hollywood Portraits


Heather Graham, Los Angeles, 1998 (detail) Photo: GEORGE HOLZ

The London Telegraph takes a look at the amazing Hollywood portraiture of Tennessee-born photographer George Holz, featured in a newly-released book, Holz Hollywood: 30 Years Of Portraits

Throughout the Nineties, he was the go-to photographer for entertainment and women’s magazines looking for a celebrity portrait. Stars would also ask for him by name; they warmed to him because he didn’t put them on a pedestal. “If you talk to them like a real person, just see what they’re about, make them feel normal and make them laugh,” says Holz, “you can catch something of the person behind the name.”

On the whole he liked them too even if, he adds, “some of them are real pills.”

Holz grew up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a town created to accommodate those working on the Manhattan Project to construct the atomic bomb. It was, says Holz, “a weird, secretive, place, where no-one could talk about what they did.” But the chemical company managing the Project had a camera club, and it was here that Holz learned photography. His sister bought him his first camera when he was 15 – a Minolta SRT 101 – and at university in Knoxville he began covering sporting events and campus demonstrations for the local paper. From there, he went to photography school in Pasadena, California, which is where he met the legendary photographer Helmut Newton.