Ghostface Killah © Emily Shur
Not unlike my reaction to Michael Jackson’s death, I wasn’t surprised but still sad to hear about Vibe Magazine‘s decision to call it quits today. I mean, at this point, no one is really shocked to add one more magazine to the already long list of fallen soldiers. It’s sad, but true. I had some good times shooting for Vibe, all of which took place during (the incomparable) George Pitt’s tenure as photo director. For example, the above picture of Ghostface was a Vibe shoot. This shoot is probably the first time I can remember actually being annoyed and pissed off at the talent…or at least the first time I felt I had a right to be pissed off. Many similar times have since followed.
Ghostface was about five hours late to the shoot. I had set up in three different areas of the studio, and all three set ups were natural light dependent. Before I go on, yes, I realize that was a mistake, but we are talking roughly six years ago here, people. When he finally arrived, he wanted to order chicken wings and have them delivered to the studio. So, we waited for his food to come and for him to eat. He wanted some specific shoes that weren’t on set, so someone had to be sent out to a store to get those. We had to wait for that, too. By the time he was groomed and dressed, it was night time, and the pictures I wanted to take were all ancient history. I was a big Ghostface fan, but at that point in time I was so over him…and all of his friends that came to the shoot. I was young, and I remember being amazed at the level of entitlement he seemed to feel. I also remember being incredibly stressed out at the thought of the shoot sucking, and the probability of that happening was high. Very high. I decided to revert to a safe, decently lit headshot in black and white utilizing the beautiful and no longer existent Polaroid Type 55. He stared me down for most of the shots, and I thought “Yay, another rapper who doesn’t want to do shit in front of the camera. How original.” I don’t really remember what he was reacting to in the above picture, but since we were shooting Type 55, I could see all of the shots I had taken right then and there, and I felt good about that picture. He saw it too, and he took a red marker and drew a big ‘X’ over it. He hated the fact that he was almost smiling. Of course the negative was intact and unharmed. Sorry, Ghostface…George Pitts seemed to like it.
I had other fun times shooting for Vibe such as hanging with Cee-Lo at his house in Atlanta and playing a game of chess with The GZA (he won). I shot a young unknown R&B artist for them in August of 2001 on the Brooklyn Bridge, and those were the last pictures I took that contained the twin towers in the background. It’s sad to see so many magazines go bye-bye. Sometimes I feel like the whole beginning of my career will be part of this historical and novel document, foreign to future generations. Well, another one bites the dust. Peace out, Vibe.