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Alex Tehrani September 3, 2010

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in United States.
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Backstage with Jon Stewart, New York 2009

Alex Tehrani (b. 1970, USA) developed the travel bug soon after losing his mom to breast cancer, and has since been roaming the planet making pictures of personal & political interest. “My photography education began in the darkroom of the school paper at Berkeley High, continued at Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, studying with some fantastic educators and lovers of photography, and continues to this day with just about every project I take on. I’ve been the recipient of numerous awards, none with a measurable effect, but all of which I’ve been thankful for, and I continue to take editorial and advertising commissions from all types. My editorial  clients include: Details, Rolling Stone, Big, Interview and others. I couldn’t have chosen a better way to spend my life.”

About the Photograph:

“This was an unusual moment in an otherwise upbeat shoot … three days with the Daily Show for Entertainment Weekly, at a time when people were just beginning to pay attention to the show. I was young and still getting my feet wet in the editorial world, and although I was comfortable with chaos & conflict, I didn’t quite know the etiquette when it came to photographing celebrities. The best part was the atmosphere around putting a show together – the inner circle at that time consisted of Steven Colbert and others- they were all heavily involved in the writing and there was no more enjoyable part to that shoot than sitting through the writers meeting each day- the writer were hilarious, way beyond anything that actually makes it to air … a bunch of smart minds hashing out ridiculous ideas for a couple hours each day. I’m often in great situations but somehow I end up missing most of them because I’m too narrowly focused on making pictures. But this was the other way around. I struggled to make pictures through what I would have much preferred to just be a part of.”

“This photo was shot on the final night of our shoot, ending in the green room with Jon & company getting ready for the night’s show, Hillary Clinton as guest. Although Mr. Stewart was always composed and engaged throughout our time together, for a brief minute I watched him drift off, go blank- but it seemed like a picture I had to make. It was very clearly the most human and vulnerable moment I’d seen over the last few days with him. He may have just been going over his grocery list or something, but that’s the magic, and sometimes deceit, of photography. It was me, a Mamiya 7 and an assistant holding a strobe attached to a monopod bouncing into a corner of the ceiling. I took the picture and then endured what felt like everyone’s eyes wondering how I had the gall to pop a flash and photograph such a quiet moment. Jon didn’t seem bothered though, he headed out into the studio moments after to throw a football around before bringing Hillary Clinton on stage.”

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