Counting Rufus Wainwright, Jake Shears and Daniel Radcliffe among friends makes Tim Hailand an icon in his own right, but it’s the household names that take focus in his “One Day in the Life Of” series.
Hailand, who’s openly gay, brings the latest of his photo books “One Day in the Life of Jake Shears” to Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse Friday, April 8, at 2 p.m.
Better yet, Shears himself will be on hand to sign and discuss the book as well. The Scissor Sisters perform later that evening at the Tabernacle.
“One Day in the Life Of Jake Shears” is the third in Hailand’s series, following the publication of similar sets with Radcliffe and Wainwright. Next on the list is gay rugby player Gareth Thomas.
In an email interview with the GA Voice, Hailand discussed what goes on behind the lens and why, despite covering Wainwright, Shears and Thomas, his books aren’t “One GAY in the Life.”
GA Voice: You started the “One Day in the Life Of” project after you covered Jake Shears for V Man Magazine. How did that lead you to shoot him, Daniele Radcliffe and Rufus Wainwright for books?
Tim Hailand: The piece was assigned to me by either Chris Bollen or Stephen Gan at V Man magazine, as it was a regular feature in the magazine. It’s funny, I was backstage in Las Vegas with Jake last week after a Lady Gaga performance and there was Stephen Gan! He had shot Gaga with Inez and Vinoodh that day for the cover and we were all looking at Polaroids of the day. I thought it funny that this project had led me back to him — also as I am hoping to include Gaga in the series. Jake, Rufus and Dan are all friends of mine, as well as being very talented performers, so the decision to shoot them was a simple one.
GA Voice: Your “One Day in the Life Of” series is “based formally on the concept of ‘The Wizard of Oz,'” moving from black and white images off-stage to color images for performance shoots. Was that your plan from the beginning?
Tim Hailand: I love the film of “The Wizard of Oz”, always have, especially how it moves into Technicolor when Dorothy lands in Oz. I wanted to incorporate that formal device into these works, so I think it always was part of the project idea.
GA Voice: What was the most surprising thing about Jake Shears’ day? What do you think fans would be most surprised about?
Tim Hailand: Nothing surprising to me, I know Jake well and I am used to being around performers. His text that he wrote I find quite beautiful. That for myself was the most unexpected element. I hope readers buy the book and read what he wrote.
GA Voice: There’s an introduction by Elton John and an afterword by Kylie Minogue. How did that come about?
Tim Hailand: Elton owns a number of pieces of my work, and is also a good friend of Jake’s, as well as being an incredible musician. He seemed like the best person to write it. I asked Jake and he asked Elton who said yes. I proposed to Jake to do a book with Kylie — they were meeting the next day and he showed her the Dan Radcliffe book. She then wanted to write for Jake’s book, so I of course said yes. I still want to do a book with her. If you’re reading this Kylie CALL me — you have my number!
GA Voice: Was the book conceived to benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation? What are the details of the portion that goes to charity?
Tim Hailand: All books in the series are conceived to be great photo books that document a substantial day in the lives of creative people that I am interested in. I decided to make it a series that would also benefit a charity, and asked the subject of each book which charity they would like funds to go to, thereby not only raising money for the charity, but raising the public’s awareness of these great organizations.
GA Voice: Three of the men you’ve photographed — Jake, Rufus and Gareth — are gay. Danielle Radcliffe is not, but he’s a staunch ally and has plenty of gay appeal. Was it your goal to photograph gay and gay-affirming celebrities for your series of books? Are there plans for more gay subjects for books in the future?
Tim Hailand: I’m not interested in whether someone is “gay” or not. I am interested in people that I find interesting. I think I am most interested in people I find heroic in some way, and/or flamboyant. I think that flamboyance is a key visual element that makes the books more interesting. I suppose most flamboyant men are homosexual. I do NOT want this series to be “One GAY in the Life”, so I need to get some women in the mix!
GA Voice: As a gay photographer, do you think that Jake, Rufus and Gareth were more comfortable with you than they would be a straight photographer? Do you think that common ground is an advantage when you’re photographing intimate moments?
Tim Hailand: I don’t think of myself as a “gay photographer”. I have no need to ghettoize myself in that way. I’m clearly homosexual in my sex life, and I suppose a bit camp, but I would say “gay” is way down on the list of how I would label myself, especially in relation to my work.
What I think is most important in all of this work, and what makes these books good, is my ability to relate to people, to talk with people and make them feel comfortable. I am able to get the images I get because of how I relate to people. It has nothing to do with whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. As I said earlier I know well all three book subjects. That helps me to get better photos, the fact that we are comfortable with each other, and have mutual respect.
GA Voice: You’ve done a couple of appearances with Jake at book signings. What’s it like to “tour” with him? What can audiences expect from your upcoming Atlanta appearance?
Tim Hailand: I’ve done one signing with Jake so far, and two with Rufus. I admire very much both of these guys, so it’s really nice to do appearances with them. I love book signings as opposed to an art gallery opening where one has to stand around for two hours and talk about their work with strangers.
The fans are mostly focused on the book subject (which is great — I get to be part of the whole thing but the attention is deflected, which works well for me) but have also been very, very positive and appreciative in their reaction to my work. It’s very fulfilling! I’m not sure what people can expect. They will just have to come on down and find out for themselves.
GA Voice: If you could photograph a “Day in the Life Of” session with any person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Tim Hailand: Andy Warhol, Oscar Wilde, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Jesus Christ, Morrissey, Cleopatra, King Ludwig II, Cher, Kraftwerk, Madonna, Beyonce, Vladimer Klitschko, Kylie Minogue, Jean Cocteau, Caspar David Friedrich, Yoko Ono, Lady Gaga, Reggie Bush, Serena Williams, Bill Clinton and David Bowie… because I find them all to be interesting. I have to be interested in the subject to make an interesting book.
GA Voice: Is there anything else you’d like to tell me that I haven’t asked?
Tim Hailand: I hope that people actually buy the books and support the project. I make books because I love books, but I think in this day and age many people look at computers to see images, and then move on the next thing. So for all you book lovers that are left, I hope you collect the series!
Top photo: Tim Hailand brings ‘One Day in the Life of Jake Shears’ to Outwrite with the Scissor Sister himself. (Hailand photo by Tim Hailand, www.timhailand.com)