i photographed stan for the third time in 2013, for a spread in the “hollywood issue” of elle men, china. i felt better going in this time. i knew stan looked great. i knew he’d be wearing his trademark sunglasses, but if i lit him all right i’d be able to see his eyes. i knew i wanted to shoot him in color on a white background and in black & white on a black background. i knew how i wanted the spread to look, and i knew my equipment worked. i even found a copy of wolverine #1 in my garage, from 1988, in case the generalissimo felt like autographing things. the only hiccup this time was that we had to set up in the smallest possible office space, around an intern’s desk, even.
still, we made it happen, stan was as gregarious as ever and – as expected – didn’t remember meeting me. i showed him the photos i had taken of him previously and he was polite enough to pretend to recall the episodes. it’s a great privilege to be able to revisit the same subjects over a period of many years, and an even greater privilege to be able to revisit a subject who had had such a profound impact on me growing up. making the pictures sing is – dare i say it – a great responsibility, too.
just before we left stan smiled, shook my hand and said “i’ll see you in a few years.”
it’s heartbreaking that he was wrong that time. i was really counting on it.
excelsior, generalissimo! you were a force, and you will be missed by many.