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Dave Hogan photographs the stars

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Category: Professional Interviewed

ePHOTOzine puts celebrity photographer Dave Hogan in the spotlight - Dave Hogan is well known for making celebrities the centre of attention but now he's the one who's getting all the glory. ePHOTOzine spoke to him about life, his new book and getting knocked over by Madonna.

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Dave Hogan with his book Access All AreasAt 6ft 4in Dave Hogan, The Sun's celebrity photographer is rather easy to spot.  But somehow the Queen of pop couldn't see him and knocked him over.

"How many people can say they've been run over by Madonna," laughed Dave.

Luckily for the showbiz world he survived and he continues to photograph her and every other celebrity - something which he's now done for over 25 years.

He may have photographed Michael Jackson, snapped shots at both Live aids and attended award ceremonies with bands such as Coldplay but this enviable lifestyle isn't one he has always had.

Dave first picked up a camera when he was ten and going away to Canada. He soon found out that taking pictures was fun, something which was strengthened once he reached art college where he was able to photograph a nude woman! From there he took £180 and went hitch-hiking before landing a place at University to study ceramics.

"I started to think how on earth am I going to make money from a potters wheel?"

Tina TurnerHe quit his degree and found a job as a resident photographer at the Butlins Holiday Camp at Barry Island. He got the chance to meet a wide variety of people and photographed grannies, children and everyone else in between.

"I didn't know what I was doing and I basically learnt on the job."

His 20 week stint with Butlins gave him the opportunity to learn the basics and overcome technical problems to help him perfect his technique.

"I soon began to learn about F stops and how each one worked differently.  From there I slowly began to pay attention to the little bits of detail that can make a big difference."

After disappointments from an FA cup final, covering scandals at Butlins and a brief stint in Disneyland taking pictures of Snow White, Simon landed a job at Stringfellow's nightclub.

In his new book, Dave said: "It was an incredible time for me. I had no trouble selling the images and as soon as I'd taken the shots, I'd regularly drop my film off at The Sun's headquarters before heading off to bed."

He gradually got to know most of the staff on the newspaper and soon found out they were always getting invites to parties which they were too tired to attend. So soon David  began to go instead and as they say the rest is history.

Chris Martin with Davi'd book"I have the greatest job in the world," said Dave.

His memoirs about the business are now scribbled down on paper and presented to the world in his new book "Access All Areas". The book is something David has had in his thoughts for a while and he began working on it around a year ago.

"It was hard trying to decide what to put in it but we finally did it and the book launch was fantastic.  Lots of old colleagues turned up it was great."

Dave has plenty of friends in the industry.  In-fact he has trusting relationships with many of the celebrities he has photographed, something which is not done by many celebrity photographers these days.

"The industry has changed and everyone has PR people now making sure the person they are working for is seen in the best light. You have to decide if you're going to piss them off or keep them sweet. I usually choose to keep them sweet as you have to think what will happen tomorrow."

When you've been in the industry as long as Dave has the celebrities just get used to you and the way you work.

Elton John"They know I don't mess around and that's why they like me. I go in, get what I need and leave."

While the paparazzi are penned outside, Dave can be found inside with three or four other photographers who are invited to the the party. "We get invited to parties as the celebrities want it to appear in the gossip columns for the publicity. I get asked back because I know how to do my job."

Back in the eighties you could have called him a paparazzi photographer as PR was none existent and he just turned up at parties (as  the paparazzi do now). Now Dave goes through several PR companies who tell him where to be and when.

Something that hasn't changed is the unsociable hours: "I like to say my job begins when everyone else's finishes," explained Dave.

Parties, premiers and award ceremonies are busy, popular places and you have to be prepared to capture what you need at speed.

"I take control of it and I don't mess around, I have 30 seconds to snap a picture sometimes and it has to be right. You're recording a moment in time, a snap shot of a persons life. You have a job to do and they have a job to do so you just have to get on with it."

Dave calls his work social observation.  He's there at the beginning, at the end and at all the interesting points in between. He has grown-up with the stars and they've learned to trust and love him.

"People can trust me, I'm not asking to come to tea."

Paul McCartneyHe usually works with four or five different artists a week as well as attending the odd award ceremony here and there. (ePHOTOzine couldn't get through to him on Monday as he was at the GQ awards with Coldplay!) It may sound like a great life, but it isn't all fun and games.

"Sometimes you have a hard time with them and sometimes they're great. If you go the lengths and have a bit of fun with them you usually get great pictures."

Celebrities and their PR companies are not stupid, they realise that editorial space is valuable and they know if the photographer doesn't take their picture then they will  go to someone else. "If they work with photographers like myself and let us take pictures of them at parties etc they know it's a good way to get publicity without paying for it."

The publicity and photography business is very popular and the number of photographers in the industry has most definitely increased since the time when Dave started. When he first started he could call the picture desk, do the picture they wanted and that would be it-job done. Now if he photographs someone and it isn't back at the picture desk almost instantly they will get the picture from someone else.

"It's very competitive, I have to have my shots back at the desk within three minutes of taking it sometimes."

Bono and Bob GeldofDave sends a variety of work back to the paper as it's better to have lots of images to edit down from rather than having one image where the subject may have blinked. He takes head shots, group shots and then the odd one or two with the wives and girlfriends to ensure there's a variety to choose from. "I'm ruthless with my edits. Out of fifteen photographs I may pick three or four."

At this weeks GQ awards he took around 60 pictures but only a handful were used by the paper and for this reason you can't grow too attached to your work. "Photographers are too close to their work, I don't think like that." Dave believes you should go in, do your recording and let the publication decide what they want to use.

"Don't get too attached to your work," explained David.

Even though he doesn't like to get too close to his work he still has his favourites.

Michael Jackson"The picture of Britney and Madonna kissing is a good one. I didn't get her kissing Christina as my buffer system on my camera couldn't work quick enough! I also like the ones of Michael Jackson when I was on stage in front of 175,000 fans and the black and white shots of the Rolling stones are great."

His notoriety and friendships among the stars have also allowed him to visit some amazing places.

"Going to Africa with Bono to see the kids was amazing. I photographed all these kids and World Aids Day was not far away and the images were used by many people."

Dave was so touched by the children that he returned to the country with wheat and maize: "They were so happy.  They danced for me and it was great to witness something other than fluffy celebrity stuff."Robbie Williams

His job has let him tour with some of the greatest bands in the world and he even looked after Robbie Williams after he left Take That-something not many people can say.

"I love my work as unlike some other forms of photography no two days are the same. If you photograph Royal Ascot it's the same people just in different hats and that's not for me."

He was around to take pictures of Michael Jackson as he originally looked and he has taken pictures of him now. Something he hopes to repeat with other stars of today.

"I hope I will be around in 40 years to take the stars of today again in the future. But you have to remember this is show business and anything can happen!"

Check out Access All Areas now.


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