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Andy's top portraits of George Clooney, Al Pacino and Julia Roberts

PUBLISHED: 11:15 25 September 2009 | UPDATED: 09:59 13 July 2010

George Clooney poses for Andy Gotts.

George Clooney poses for Andy Gotts.

Celebrity photographer Andy Gotts is used to mingling with famous stars as he captures their quirky portraits.

The man who was brought up in north Norfolk now has an A-list contacts book and portfolio brimming with names such as George Clooney, Kate Winslet, David Beckham and Naomi Campbell.

Al Pacino

Celebrity photographer Andy Gotts is used to mingling with famous stars as he captures their quirky portraits.

The man who was brought up in north Norfolk now has an A-list contacts book and portfolio brimming with names such as George Clooney, Kate Winslet, David Beckham and Naomi Campbell.

But he is now finding himself in the spotlight too after his pictures of big names from the world of show business helped win him a hat trick of top awards from British Institute of Professional Photographers.

A shot of actor Al Pacino taken at his Beverly Hills home, and one of movie icon Paul Newman just a month before he died, were among a set of pictures that won Mr Gotts prizes in the first year he has entered the competition.

Julia Roberts

But he was also given the final, prestigious Fox Talbot Award for his creativity and professionalism.

The 38-year-old, who regularly visits his family in Sheringham, said he was sitting back at the awards ceremony having already picked up three accolades when he realised he had won the big one.

“I had turned off, and suddenly realised I had won the outstanding award too. It is flattering to be praised by your peers, and flattering that the judges said my work had set new a benchmark and raised the bar.”

BIPP president Graham Rutherford said: The standards we set in our awards are extremely high. These pictures by Andy are outstanding examples of the best in international photography.”

The picture of Pacino is part of a project he is doing for Sir Elton John's Aids charity, which sees him photographing the 10 biggest icons in 10 different categories for a coffee table fund-raising book.

Also on his hit list are rockers Ozzy Osbourne and Alice Cooper, crooner Barry Manilow, racing driver Stirling Moss, footballer David Beckham, actors Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig, models Elle McPherson and Naomi Campbell, politician Tony Blair, comic Ricky Gervais and burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese.

“Organising the sittings is the hardest. It took me nine months to find a day when Ricky Gervais was free,” said Mr Gotts.

Meeting Paul Newman shortly before his death was a big treat for the photographer.

“He was my acting hero - and I got to spend four hours alone with him. He was telling story after story. He was in a bad way with his cancer, but as well as the moody shots, he was messing about, and being stupid like a teenager - pretending to strangle himself and sticking his fingers up his nose.”

Mr Gotts celebrity journey which has taken him all over the world began in the humbler surroundings of the college at King's Lynn where he first took his basic photography course - and was sparked by a fleeting meeting with actor Stephen Fry.

“He was giving an Aids awareness talk to students. I set up a makeshift studio next to the hall - and when he asked for questions at the end, I invited him to have his picture taken.

“He agreed and it was 10 minutes that changed my life.

“I realised I wanted to be a celebrity photographer. There is something about being in charge of someone who is famous, spending time with them, and getting them to do things for you.”

He learned his trade alongside famous photographers including Lord Snowdon and David Bailey, but has developed his own style - working alone, without the usual entourage, which Mr Gotts feels is the reason so many celebrities are happy to work with him.

Among them was Brad Pitt whose minders initially only allocated a precise 12-minute slot for a photo shoot during a filming session at Shepperton studios.

“Ninety minutes later we were still talking, and he wanted to do something else to help. Brad phoned someone, passed it across to me, and I was talking to George Clooney - who invited me over to Lake Como!”

Mr Gotts, who lives in Islington in London but still regularly visits his family in Sheringham, said having stars who were also friends, including Kate Winslet, helped open other doors for portrait opportunities.

His subjects are not always movie, fashion or sports stars however, but are a privilege to spend time with.

One of the most memorable was astronomer Patrick Moore, whom he visited two weeks ago.

“He was amazing. There are not many people in the world who have met the first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, and the first man to fly an aircraft Orville Wright as well as people like Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe!”

Information about Mr Gotts work is on his website www.andygotts.com


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