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GET ACCESS: PHOTOGRAPHER CHRIS CUFFARO

Video Transcript of Karl Schmid’s GET ACCESS interview with photographer Chris Cuffaro:

KARL SCHMID

Chris Cafaro has worked with the world’s most talented musicians and supermodels. And recently I sat down with him to talk about capturing favorite musical heroes. Chris, nice to see you.

CHRIS CUFFARO

Nice to see you.

KARL SCHMID

Do you remember the first moment that you took a picture and you went, “Gosh, I’m actually really good at this. I can make a living out of it.”

CHRIS CUFFARO

It was in high school. I used to go to a lot of funk concerts and R & B and so I went to see Earth, Wind, & Fire play in 1977 and I took a picture, brought my camera and snuck it in and took a picture of Earth, Wind, & Fire on stage and I ended up going to school and I made a bunch of like 25 eight by 10 prints and I sold all of them, each for $10 each to my friends ’cause they were all like, “It’s Earth, Wind, & Fire!” And so after selling all that, I was like, I’m gonna to do this, I’m going to do this and then I started shooting models, doing model shoots. This playmate friend, boyfriend was a famous music producer and I met him and I shot him. And then that kind of opened the doors to shooting music. And then I realized I loved music so much that all the sudden I got to shoot for my musical heroes. I was meeting them and hanging out with them and that changed everything. When you meet somebody you admire and they’re really super nice, you know what that’s like. It’s like, oh, this is the best thing ever, right?

KARL SCHMID

Who was that person for you?

CHRIS CUFFARO

Maurice White, the leader and founder of Earth, Wind, & Fire. I got to shoot him for Musician magazine. It was my second official music shoot. And then afterwards he invited me up to the house to show him the pictures and to go over the pictures and I went up to Beverly Hills and I hung out at his house. We hung out for the whole day and he showed me stacks of platinum records, talked about Earth, Wind, & Fire. It was like I’d won the lottery kind of a moment. And I just remember, always tell people, I just remember driving home from Beverly Hills crying because it was just the most amazing moment, and I was like, I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna to shoot everybody, my heroes, and right from that point on, I was on a mission toCHRIS CUFFARO

I made a hit list, and then I just went after that list.

KARL SCHMID

You’ve photographed and you’ve had exhibitions, your “Greatest hits, George Michael”.

CHRIS CUFFARO

I did an exhibition in 2018 in Australia called “Greatest Hits, George Michael” at Black Eye Gallery, which was hugely successful in so many ways, but most of all, I really made a lot of George Michael fans happy. They’re the most passionate fans I’ve ever met to this day. Some of them now are friends, all over the world. For me, the first shoot I did was on the “Faith” video. And George liked me, we clicked, and then I did everything for a year after that. Traveled, did the tour, did all the music videos. And he was, I’ve said this a million times in my talks, he changed my life in so many ways. And he taught me how to party, he taught me how to have fun. He was so difficult as a subject, it made me better. He just forced me to be my best. He forced me to work really hard. He was such a perfectionist and I loved that about him. And I owe him to this day. I can’t thank him and his exhibitions have been, I’ve done almost 10 exhibitions now, and every one of them has been amazing. People love photography, people love music. And I tap into that nostalgia and I love that. It makes me happy watching people. I love sitting outside the galleries, either opening night or afterwards, I just watch people go in. And then I watched them come out with smiles on their face and I go, “I win!” I win! And you know, I hate to say it. So you know how much Australia loves Michael Hutchence, right?

KARL SCHMID

Well, yes, of course, in excess!

CHRIS CUFFARO

Exactly, so this exhibition I just had, we had to extend it three weeks and people were there almost every day in tears and joy and they love Michael and I love Michael and it was a great experience to watch people really celebrate his life. It was fun.

KARL SCHMID

Well, I’ll tell you what, this has been a really great experience talking to you CHRIS CUFFARO

. Thank you so much. If you want to check out CHRIS CUFFARO

‘s work, check out cuffarophoto.com. It’s all there, right?

CHRIS CUFFARO

Yep, it’s all there. And Cuffaro Hits for the project. I have too many websites basically.

KARL SCHMID

Well, it’s been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much.

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