Hollywood's Great Performers • Paolo Pellegrin • Magnum Photos

Magnum Pro

Editorial Cultural Commercial Search Image Archive

Welcome to the New Magnum Photos Site

Explore the award-winning storytelling work of Magnum photographers here, or head to Magnum Pro to search and license photos from Magnum’s acclaimed image archive.

CONTINUE TO NEW SITE
SEARCH PHOTO ARCHIVE IN MAGNUM PRO
Arts & Culture

Hollywood’s Great Performers

Paolo Pellegrin captures intimate, behind-the-scenes portraits of Hollywood’s finest actors away from the spotlight

Paolo Pellegrin

Tearsheet . The New York Times magazine (front cover). February 8, 2009.

On commission for The New York Times Magazine in 2008, Documentary photographer Paolo Pellegrin embarked on a distinctive project to capture the lives of eight of Hollywood’s most famous actors for their Annual Greatest Performers series.

For the project, he shot photos of Brad Pitt, Penélope Cruz, Frank Langella, Robert Downey Jr., Kate Winslet, Mickey Rourke, Sean Penn and a rising talent Kat Dennings in a documentary style, without the use of a stylists or hair or makeup artists.

Paolo Pellegrin Spanish actress Penelope Cruz. New York City, USA. December 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin American actor Sean Penn. San Francisco, USA. December, 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin American actress Kat Dennings. Toronto, Canada. November, 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin American actor Robert Downey Jr. during the filming of 'Sherlock Holmes', directed by Guy Ritchie. London, UK. 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos

During the 1960s, Magnum sent Eve Arnold, Erich Hartmann, Inge Morath, Cornell Capa, and Bruce Davidson, to shoot a series of behind the scenes images on the set of John Huston’s The Misfits, which starred Marylyn Monroe, Montgomery Clift, and Clark Gabel. Given full access to the stars, the Magnum photographers were able to capture intimate images of the era’s most famous stars.

This approach to capturing naturalistic image of celebrities has dwindled over the years due the rise of paparazzi photographer and the prominence of red carpet imagery.

Paolo Pellegrin American actor Sean Penn. San Francisco, USA. December 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos

Paolo Pellegrin’s previous projects have ranged from photographing Olympic athletes to refugees from Darfur, and President Obama’s election campaign. This documentary approach to his subjects made him the perfect choice to capture naturalist images of celebrities away from the glaring flash-photography of the red carpet.

Paolo Pellegrin American actor Brad Pitt. Los Angeles, USA. 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin American actor Mickey Rourke London, UK. January 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin Golden Globes. British actress Kate Winslet. Los Angeles, USA. 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin British actress Kate Winslet. New York City, USA. November 2008. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos

The project took Pellegrin across the globe, seeing him travel to Berlin, London, New York and LA, where he accompanied the Hollywood stars on set or spent time with them in their homes.

Paolo Pellegrin American actress Kat Dennings. Los Angeles, USA. 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos

The result was a series of images documenting the lives of these actors away from celebrity culture.

Paolo Pellegrin British actress Kate Winslet, in the foreground American actor Leonardo Di Caprio. Los Angeles, USA. 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin Golden Globes. British actress Kate Winslet and her husband the British filmmaker Sam Mendes. Los Angeles, USA. 2009. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos

These series of images ran in the 2008 sixth-annual best performance portfolio of The New York Times Magazine.

Tearsheet. The New York Times magazine. February 8, 2009.