A good photographer often shoots hundreds, even thousands, of pictures to get the one true shot that captures the moment. So what happens to all those other photos? The Closer decided to raid Chicago’s art department files in search of interesting photos left on the cutting-room floor. Here, with commentary from the people behind the decisions, are four shots, reprinted beside the pictures that ended up in the magazine instead.
>> While taking pictures of an adorable signature stuffed monkey by Lilly Pulitzer ($30), photographer Leonard Gertz decided he needed a prop to spice things up. “I thought it would be funny if we turned the monkey into a tragically hip rock star,” says Gertz. “So I pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniel’s from my liquor cabinet.” Using Annie Leibovitz’s legendary photo of a drunken Keith Richards as inspiration, Gertz cradled the bottle in the monkey’s arm, and the monkey did the rest. In this context, the photo that ran instead makes the monkey look almost despondent.
>> Our art department scoured the photo wire for the perfect shot to accompany a Q & A with architect Renzo Piano about his upcoming wing at the Art Institute. They stumbled upon this vaguely ominous stock photo of Piano posing in front of his Centre Culturel Tjibaou in New Caledonia with a group of native dancers. “He’s laughing, but he looks terrified,” says art researcher Brittney Blair. “Why does the kid on the left have a knife?” The photo, which had nothing to do with the Art Institute, was nixed in favor of a straightforward shot by New York photographer Evan Kafka.
>> Dorothy Davis dispenses advice along with towels as a bathroom attendant at Le Passage-which was what photographer Saverio Truglia hoped to capture. “I wanted to do a posed shot,” says Truglia. “And this woman in pink had such enormous cleavage, it was obvious what to do.” Truglia asked the woman to wash her hands; then he lay on the counter and snapped shots with Davis (aka “Big Mama") in the background. “Her look says, ‘This girl might not be getting the most respect from men, dressed like this,’” says Truglia. The photo that beat it out is more PG-but Big Mama’s expression is virtually identical.
>> In capturing the gritty world of Exit, a 12-year-old punk club on North Avenue, Chris Guillen snapped dozens of shots at the bar’s bondage night. “These three dominatrixes poured wax on this woman’s back and spanked her with everything you could possibly spank with-to the beat of the music,” says Guillen. “When she got done, she said, ‘Thank you,’ and went off to have a drink.” The editor who overruled the photograph reasoned thusly: “I don’t mind the spanking, but the handcuffs disturb me.” The sneering mohawked couple were deemed more acceptable: “They were actually pretty bubbly,” Guillen says.