Black and white photo of Sidney Poitier by Timothy White
Art and culture

Timothy White’s Hollywood Icons exhibition

June 20, 2022

Regarded as one of the most important figures in contemporary photography, Timothy White is truly a legend in the making. Here’s the man himself to introduce his work, which is currently on display at Hotel Bel-Air.

Photographer extraordinaire

Over the course of my career I’ve been fortunate to work with many legends. For my latest exhibition, entitled Icons, I’ve carefully chosen a selection of intimate portraits to reflect this. Each of these images encompasses a sense of trust, respect and honesty between myself and these iconic subjects. Let me share with you some of my memories of capturing these moments. I also warmly invite you to come and see my exhibition at Hotel Bel-Air and form your own opinions.

Photographer to the stars, Timothy White
Photo of actor Brad Pitt on a motorcycle by Timothy White

Brad Pitt

This image of Brad Pitt was taken on a deserted road in the middle of the Mojave Desert. It captures a reflective moment at sunset, where Brad was alone with his thoughts and away from the pressures of his fame and career.

After working together a number of times and sharing our love for motorcycles, Brad suggested we take a ride together. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to do what we both loved and photograph the experience to document our trip. When a particular landscape or scene inspired me, we’d stop and create a unique image. It stands out as one of the most amazing life and photographic experiences I’ve ever had.

Sidney Poitier

Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier represented so many positive things, from his dignified air and amazing talent, to how he moved race relations forward with such grace. Being a fan of cinema and knowing his movies, I was in awe when I was sent to his house to photograph him.

He wandered into the room and asked me to select an outfit for the shoot. So there I was, this young kid from New Jersey, going through a legend’s closet! I was fortunate to photograph him on other occasions throughout his career and he was always so wonderful and gracious.

Legendary photographer Timothy White's portrait of Sidney Poitier
Actress Sophia Loren on rocks photographed by Timothy White

Sophia Loren

As a director and a storyteller, my work is all about collaborating to get the best images. This photo of Sophia Loren was a spontaneous collaboration, and I think that spirit comes across in the photos.

Here is someone who is such a huge icon and so playful. She was happy to be directed by me – whether I was asking her to run on a beach, jump into water and ruin her gown or lay on rocks and laugh. Working with legendary actors who are open to trusting your ideas and have the same passion for creating something memorable is truly inspiring.

James Gandolfini

This is one of my most popular images because of how loved James Gandolfini was. There was something about him and the characters he portrayed that has really endeared him to the public. Through characters like Tony Soprano, people felt Gandolfini’s vulnerability, his pain, and his creative output. I think this picture is so real, so sharp, and so telling. He’s emoting to me in a way that makes it such a powerful image, inviting the viewer into his personality and warmth.

Black and white portrait by Timothy White of James Gandolfini, Sopranos star
Whitney Houston in black and white photographed by Timothy White

Whitney Houston

I worked with Whitney Houston multiple times over the years. My very first shoot with her was for Rolling Stone magazine, featuring her with her mother. This particular shot was taken early on in both of our careers and I remember it fondly as being a very special personal experience. As we both grew up and matured, so did our work together.

This photo is one of the more serious portraits I took of her. Although she led a joyous life and produced such beautiful work, there was also a seriousness to her life, which I feel comes through in this image.

Timothy White’s outstanding complimentary Icons exhibition is on display until July 31. We highly recommend you catch it while you can.

All images are courtesy of Timothy White

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Hotel Bel-Air

A hidden sanctuary amongst the wooded hills, untouched by the clamour of life beyond the gates of Bel-Air. The most quintessentially private and exclusive hotel, delivering low-key elegance since 1946.

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