“For celebrity photographer Andrew Macpherson, a picture is worth 2 Million Miles”
Text by Kate Bryan
Images by Andrew Macpherson, courtesy of Cat Street Gallery
It is hard to imagine a time when we were not surrounded by constructed images on a daily basis. Less than 200 years ago the average person in the west was likely to encounter a handful in a lifetime. Now they pursue us everywhere in a Baudriallardian vision, from television, to magazines, to billboards, to movies; we would have to stow ourselves away to a desert island to avoid them. And in this whirlwind of visual paraphernalia nothing comes close to rivaling the power of a beautiful face or famous icon. In a world that is saturated with images one wonders how a fashion / celebrity photographer can possibly create a distinct edge, emerge triumphant and create photographs with purity.
British born photographer Andrew Macpherson’s book ‘2 Million Miles’ charts his ability to do so and is testament to his enduring vision which has remained fresh and engaging for nearly three decades. Macpherson’s artistic journey has introduced his camera to just about every big face out there including Muhammad Ali, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Kate Moss and Charlize Theron.
Aged 15, Macpherson started out in London as an assistant to the legendary Lord Snowdon, an invaluable apprenticeship with a master at work. In his early twenties he was discovered by Amanda Harlech, the famous fashionista with an eye for talent. This led to a rollercoaster ride shooting for Italian and British Vogue, The Face and Rolling Stone Magazine. A highlight among many for Macpherson was shooting U2’s 1992-3 Tour for British Vogue, an opportunity for him to “capture the power and the energy of their live music. Photographing atmospheric mass energy is a challenging prospect”, and one that he clearly relished. In the mid 1990s Macpherson gave in to the bright lights and settled in California, concentrating his attention on the entertainment industry and Hollywood. He has never looked back.
Macpherson’s talent lies in being able to communicate with his subjects without ever imposing a stringent “Macpherson” aesthetic. Every shot sees him trying new texture, composition and context with dazzling effect. The extraordinary value of this ability should not be overlooked for his subjects are some of the most photographed people in the world. He must find a new and engaging way to approach each of them, whilst remaining true to his artistic vision. “Photography allows us to sharpen our sense of light, color, composition and life. It’s a wonderful thing”.
Macpherson cites his mother, who died when he was a teenager, as a great source of inspiration. His book is dedicated to her memory with all proceeds donated to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Women Cancer Research Fund. The title of the book, ‘2 Million Miles’ derives from the amount of airmiles he had collated in the quest for the perfect picture.
Andrew Macpherson represents a modern phenomenon: he speaks of fashion, celebrity, icons, worldwide travel and now, art. In autumn 2008 his photographs were exhibited for the first time — a very contemporary moment featuring living icons of the 20th and 21st centuries. This photographer proves that at the heart of a visual whirlwind, there is a place to stop and capture true meaning, creating an image which has artistic longevity.
2 Million Miles, an Exhibition of Photographs by Andrew Macpherson showed at The Cat Street Gallery, 222 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong, in October 2008. 2 Million Miles is published by TeNeues. A percentage of proceeds from the exhibition will go to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund.
Published in Issue 27 SPICE, 2009