What Does a Famous Photographer Do All Day?

Albert Watson  picked up his father’s Voigtländer when he was twelve years old and has since known that photography is what he wants to do. Though famous for photographing supermodels and celebrities for magazines, such as Vogue and Rolling Stone, Watson never settled for one genre of photography. Now 71 years old, Watson shares a new adventure or “art project” on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, where he grew up in the following two part video.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Watson starts off his venture by placing a piece of tape on his steering wheel to remind him to drive left rather than right as he does at home in New York. He then brainstorms words that he wants his finished work to convey. “Lord of the Rings” is the first to come to mind along with “Victorian romanticism” and “mysterious.” However, he then pulls over in mid-sentence in order to shoot his first photo.

“The landscape dominates you. You have to make sure in the end that you dominate the landscape.”

landscape isle of skye
Watson’s breakthrough shot was for Harper’s Bazaar in 1973. He was given the opportunity to photography Alfred Hitchcock, the first celebrity he had ever shot. The publication wanted a festive picture with Hitchcock holding a plate with a goose on it. Instead, Watson directed him to hold the dead, plucked goose in his bare hands.

alfred hitchcock portraiture portrait
Though known for his work in model photography, Watson finds a certain appeal in landscape photography. He likes the harsher conditions because they challenge him as a photographer. He enjoys bringing his bold style as exemplified by his work with Hitchcock to his landscape work, as well. Along the way, he stops to see what he has shot, consulting with his technician to make sure he is on track. She stitches multiple shots together to give them a high megapixel count to create sharper, more detailed images.

technician megapixel stitch
One of Watson’s specialties is his creativity. He incorporates sparklers, fireworks, and fog machines into some of his images. Though he admits that at that point the photos are mainly experimental, by using objects outside of the original shot, he can come up with some unique ideas. In his opinion, a good day is where he can take one amazing shot.


Watson uses fog machines and sparklers in his landscape images.

“I never think, ‘What am I doing here?’ I think, ‘I’m lucky to be here.’”

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