In the final birthdays, today is Michael Stipe’s birthday.
Michael is an interesting guy. He is very well known, obviously, and through that celebrity has come to be “known” by many people as something other than who he is as a person. I’ve listened to his band since I was 7, and for a long time that is the only way I knew him. Sometimes I think the enigma of “Michael Stipe” as lead singer of R.E.M. was somehow more interesting than the person.
But then I realize that the person who I came to know through working with him was different, but somehow just as compelling. Michael’s a warm, kind and wickedly intelligent man with a great sense of humor. As much as I admire his work as an artist, it’s just as easy to admire him as a person.
Michael also makes a really great photo subject.
SXSW 2008. Michael and company were in town to play Stubbs and introduce their new record Accelerate on the world. They arrived in town a bit early to do press, Michael before the other two.
Being that he was in town during SXSW Interactive, I ended up taking him to a Facebook Party, which is a story for another day.
This picture was taken in a conference room off the lobby at the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin. They have this spectacularly awful and weird forrest painting up, and the light hit it just so that it matched the fake light within the painting.
This picture was taken after Michael had done a video interview with Ali Partovi for iLike.com. I remember my stage direction was “Michael, look up and to the right.” After I took it, he took a look on the camera and gave the nod of approval. I shot a great many photos of the course of those few days.
The entirety of the photos from SXSW are here.