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    A Q & A with Photographer Bob Deutsch  
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Bob with Carol Burnett in 1963
Bob Deutsch & Carol Burnett in 1963 
 
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"Stars Thru My Lens"

Photographer Bob Deutsch

 

Photographer Bob Deutsch began shooting photos of movie stars in the 1960s. As a resident of New York City, he was able to get up close and personal with many stars by hanging around Broadway Theatres. He later began freelancing for Time, Newsweek and People magazines. He also was invited to many star-studded parties and spent many evenings at Studio 54. His exhibit, "Stars Thru My Lens" includes photos from this time period with shots of Barbra Streisand, Carol Burnett, Bette Midler, Tony Danza, Kevin Bacon, Liz Taylor and many more. “Stars Thru My Lens” will be on exhibit through December. There is a ‘Meet the Artist’ reception this Friday, Nov. 19, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Dennis Dean Galleries located at 2440-B Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors. Bob talked with Mark Magazine about his upcoming exhibit and career in photography.

MARK: When did you first realize that you wanted to be a photographer capturing movie stars? What was so appealing to you about shooting celebrities?

BOB DEUTSCH: I started going to television shows in New York when I was 14 years old. They were and are free to attend. At that time, I started getting autographs of the stars I would see, but I soon realized that a signature on a piece of paper wasn't what I wanted. I bought myself an inexpensive camera and started asking stars to pose for me. Ever since I was a teenager, it was fairly easy to get close to these people.

Bette Midler in concert in 1973What inspired you to finally display your photography in an exhibit and why did it take so long?

I stopped my photography career in the early 1980's and went on to become a real estate broker for the next 25 years. Since then, these photos have been in files in my closet. I have had a few slide shows for friends and people kept telling me that I must do something with these valuable pictures. I went to Dennis Dean Galleries and showed him and his business partner Mario some of my work, and they agreed to allow me to exhibit my photos there.

What is your fondest memory of photographing celebrities? Who stands out the most to you?

I guess what stands out the most is befriending Vivien Leigh while she was appearing in "Tovarich" on Broadway. I was 19 years old and she took a liking to me and allowed me into her dressing room many times to photograph her. I have photos of her in all her costumes from that show and when she returned to London, we kept up a writing friendship. Also, I photographed Elizabeth Taylor many times, but the other memorable shooting was when I was invited to the first dress rehearsal of "The Little Foxes" here in Fort Lauderdale at the Parker Playhouse. I flew down from N.Y. and was the only one in the theatre for this performance. The following week, my photo appeared in Newsweek and it was the first press that the show got.

Was anyone particularly difficult to work with?

Can't really say difficult, but Barbra Streisand always scared me because I was in such awe of her talent and still am. What was it like being around the Studio 54 crowd? I had a love/hate relationship with Studio 54. I went quite often and had to schlep my cameras around the dance floor while everyone was partying. I just wanted to join in and sometimes I did—checked my cameras and danced and....

You left photography when it seemed your career was taking off? Do you regret not pursing it further? If you had, where do you think your life would be now?

By the time I left, the whole atmosphere had changed and I had burned out. I was spending many hours in my darkroom processing and printing all my own photographs and was getting overwhelmed. There were a lot of crazy paparazzi around. When I did it, there were maybe 10 of us, and, by the early 80's, there were perhaps 25-30 people hanging around trying to get "the shot.”

How do you think photos of celebrities now differ from when you were in the game?

As I said, it's gotten much crazier nowadays. Celebrities are more fearful and more guarded. It just isn't the fun that it was back when I did it. nd more guarded. It just isn't the fun that it was back when I did it.