- Scott Gries
- 30 years old
- Photographer, Getty Images. "Never use any form of the word 'art' when referring to what I do. I take pictures. I'm a photographer -- a picture taker. I shoot people."
- Grew-up in Albany, NY. "Currently reside at the nexus of the universe – 1st and 1st!"
How did you end up a professional photographer? Did you study photography in school?
I started by shooting hardcore punk shows. I couldn’t afford the cover so the bands put me on the list in trade for photos. The promoter of the shows worked at a local paper. He got me my first assignment, and the rest is history. I took a couple photo classes in college but learned mostly from friends and students around me.
What exactly do you do? Would you say you do more corporate type work, or are you out and about more?
Lately I’ve been doing mostly corporate portraits: CEO’s, editors, and execs of all sorts. Still get to do some event type things -- TRL, concerts, and the like.
What's the most difficult aspect of your job -- how tricky is it to get a usable photo?
My job is easy. I look through a couple pieces of glass and push a button. Don’t tell my boss how easy it is though.
Does your work mean a lot of late nights out? And given that Getty is such a huge agency, does that guarantee you access to most events without needing to stoop to stalker style tactics?
I work some late nights. Lately its been getting better. The portraits mean more 9-5 gigs.
Stalker tactics? Uhhhh, no. Even though I’m vegetarian, I’ve always had a fascination with hunting -- thus, a fascination with the paparazzi.
Do you have to rely much on the cooperation of celebs and publicists?
When shooting events you have to rely on them. But since I’m usually on assignment for publications the celebs want to be in, they are usually quite accommodating.
When journalists attend premiere parties, they have the flexibility to mingle, eat, drink and be merry, as long as they get their quote? Does lugging around photo equipment preclude you from having "fun" at big parties?
It depends on the shoot. Lately I’ve been making it a point to have more “fun” at these parties. Some of these shoots take me away from time with friends, so I’ll have a drink or 4 when I can.
Speaking of stalkerazzi, what are your thoughts about them, or about tabloid TV and magazines that follow celebs around? Does working alongside them at major celebrity-oriented events make your job harder or is it irrelevant?
The whole paparazzi industry is hilarious. I think they are much more entertaining than the celebs. There is a reality TV show in there somewhere.
Any good stories you’re allowed to share?
Stories about the celebs or stalkerazzi? Yes and yes. Allowed to tell? Wait for my book.
When you read magazines and newspapers, do you instinctively look at the credit line to see who shot what?
I read them sideways. Its fun and it confuses people on the subway.
Does anyone even use a non-digital camera anymore?
I do. I have a Leica that I use for special occasions, when I want my photos to look good!!
The quality has gotten remarkably better over the past 2 years. With some of the new cameras the image quality is as close to, if not better than 35mm film. But there is still a warmth you don’t get from digital that you get from film
Do you ever take snapshots for fun or engage in any non-work creative expression? Does your cell phone have a camera on it?
If by “non-work creative expression” you mean getting drunk and taking photos of my butt with friends camera phones, then yes -- I do.
Ten Things to Know About Scott:
What's the best thing you've ever purchased/salvaged off the street?
One of those fold up bikes- I gave it to the girl I was dating.
Gotham Mad Lib: When the ____________ (noun) makes me feel ___________ (adverb), I like to _____________ (verb). (Strict adherence to "Madlib" rules is not required – answer however you wish.)
When the Wal-Mart makes me feel angry, I like to put bricks through its windows.
NYC confessional: Do you have a local guilty pleasure?
I just bought a car and I’ve been feeling guilty about ever it since.
When you just need to get away from it all, where is your favorite place in NYC to be alone, relish in solitude and find your earthly happiness? (We promise not to intrude.)
I just put on a hoodie and sunglasses, plug in my iPod and walk the streets.
What's one thing you've done (or regularly do) in NYC that you could not have conceived doing anywhere else?
Assuming that you're generally respectful of your fellow citizens, was there ever a time when you had to absolutely unleash your inner asshole to get satisfaction?
Three times I can think of:
1) Some asshole on the subway commented on the weight of a woman trying to sit next to him -- opened a can of whoop ass and he moved to the next car.
2) A cab driver cut me off and nearly killed me while riding my motorcycle so I tossed my gum through his open window.
3) See the "311" question below about my lovely neighbors.
Describe that low-low moment when you thought you just might have to leave NYC for good.
Watching a dog piss on a fruit stand with the owner letting it happen and the owner of the fruit stand not noticing. I was dumbstruck.
Besides more square footage, what luxury would you most like to have in your apartment?
A shower where it belongs -- in the bathroom!!!
311: Help or hoopla? Have you ever put it to use?
The fuckin Krishnas who live next door wake me at 6:15 every morning. I’ve called 311 countless times … finally had to take it into my own hands. Yeah -- they deserve a brick along with Wal-Mart.
There are 8 Million stories in The Naked City. Tell us one, but try to keep it to a New York Minute.
Like the one about how I rode a scooter over the Brooklyn Bridge naked at 1 in the afternoon in 20 degree weather? No, you don’t really want to hear about that do you…?
-- Interview by Lily Oei and Aaron Dobbs