We Are The Rhoads Divulge the Secret of Celebrity
As a culture, Americans share a reverence for celebrity. We see these cultural leaders as separate from ourselves, but photographer duo, We Are The Rhoads, don’t have the luxury of keeping that distance. The job of the photographer requires that Chris and Sarah Rhoads come in constant contact with these figures, and demands they always find ways to connect with them. Sarah and Chris have learned a lot about how we treat celebrity and how to break through the wall that separates “us” from “them.” “A lot of times people have a tendency of treating celebrities not as humans,” says Chris. “What we find is just how normal and sweet most of them are.”
Just in the past few months, The Rhoads have photographed figures like Pierce Brosnan, Mila Kunis, Jake Johnson, and Hannah John Kamen for editorial shoots and ad campaigns, but even as each project has different parameters and needs, the center of the work is always the same: find an honest moment with the subject.
Photographing the range of celebrities they do, The Rhoads created a simple strategy for this work. It has nothing to do with ego. It has nothing to do with performance. Instead, it’s about being human. Most celebrities have incredibly demanding schedules which means they may not have a lot of time to offer to Chris and Sarah, but even if they only have a few minutes The Rhoads spend as much of it as possible getting to know the person they’re photographing to close the distance between subject and shooter. That time is crucial. “The time that we’re developing a rapport with them outside of the time that they’re in front of the camera is actually more valuable to us than I think the time when they’re in front of the camera,” Sarah explains. “If we have done our job - whether it’s two minutes or two hours that we get to talk with somebody on the human level - then we’ll get amazing results in front of the camera even if we only have a few minutes. It’s all about being humans together.” Every moment they spend connecting with their subject blooms into greater results.
Even if you’re not a photographer, there’s a lesson to take from what Sarah and Chris have learned: we’re all humans having a human experience. “At the end of the day, we’re all just people trying to do our best and dig as deep as we can to try to produce something that we can be proud of. Meeting people on the human level always elicits the best outcome in every aspect of life, not just taking photographs,” Sarah says.