Celebrity photographer Sam Jones is one of the most sought after photographers in Hollywood. His photographs of famous actors such as George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Bob Dylan, Kristen Stewart, among others have been featured on the covers of Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly and Men’s Journal.
Emerging out from behind the camera, Jones has decided to take his interaction with these celebrities a step further by interviewing them for his new project he’s dubbed Off Camera. Jones describes his new venture as part “website, magazine, television show and podcast.” This setup allows for Jones to interview these stars in a more intimate setting. In each interview Jones digs deep, asking these celebrities in-depth questions the usual interviewer would stray from.
“I wanted the opportunity to get in the room with people that really interest me, and have a deeper conversation about how they became artists, how they approach their craft, and what is important to them,” said Jones in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “And I also wanted the environment to be able to photograph and film them on my own terms, without having the creative direction influenced by a certain project or client. I wanted to strip away all that stuff and make a pure portrait of an artist.”
Some may not know that Jones actually filmed a documentary, 2002’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart, which documented the recording of Wilco’s album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. He has also done other commercial projects involving interviewing subjects, so he has experience in the field. However, this time around he’s in front of the camera, which makes it significantly different for him.
Having been interviewed himself, Jones says that he’s noticed faults with other interviewers, and with his own endeavor has tried to avoid these errors.
“One thing that I have noticed in being interviewed myself over the years is that it is incredibly distracting if the interviewer is doing anything other than listening while you are trying to formulate an answer, whether it be fiddling with their notes, checking the recording device, or looking at something else in the room,” said Jones. “So I really try to just listen while guests are answering my questions. Being able to do that, and still have an idea where the overall thread of the story is going, or figuring out what to ask next, is a true art. And one I hope to become a lot better at.”
Off Camera was first launched in April and the first four celebrity guests included Robert Downey Jr., John Krasinski, Aimee Mann and Blake Mills. Jones hopes to welcome other guests in the future, including athletes, directors, artists and anyone else who he thinks has an intriguing story to tell.
Below is a preview video of Sam Jones’ interview with Robert Downey Jr.