Roland Garros, Terminator Salvation, Johnny Hallyday & Dirty Arab

Like the like few years, I rolled right from Cannes into the French Open tennis of Roland Garros. The two weeks of Roland Garros are photographically my favorite of the year, especially when the weather is perfect like it was this year.

Serena Williams

Serena Williams


I’m a big fan of tennis, having played my whole life, and I get to sit on the court and shoot the world’s best players for a fortnight. It makes up for the times I have to stand in the rain and shoot some bogus animated movie premiere.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to shoot the finals this year because I’m heading up to Normandy to photograph the D-Day ceremony with Obama. But it pains me a bit to miss what will hopefully be Federer’s record-tying 14th grand slam title.

I’ve put together a video of my favorite images from the tournament. You can watch it HERE.

Two other photographic events happened this week – the European premiere of the film Terminator Salvation and the concert of Johnny Hallyday. The premiere was a pretty big deal here, with a big crowd surrounding the Grand Rex theatre. Christian Bale was the big draw of course.

Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic

Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic


I’ve posted a video showing the theatre and the crowd waiting for the start of the premiere; you can get a little sense of the ambience. You can see the video HERE.

The Johnny Hallyday concert was a HUGE disappointment. Hallyday is not really known much in the U.S. but I can’t exaggerate how big he is here in France. He’s maybe like the French equivalent of Bruce Springsteen here. He’s a legend. I’ve tried to photograph him for many years and never got credentialed … until this year. So after shooting all day at Roland Garros, I dragged myself out to the Stade de France outside Paris, pretty excited to shoot. The organizers took us into the stadium filled with probably 75,000 people. Normally we’re right next to the stage but this night, they made us walk through the crowd with all of our equipment, which was unbelievably stupid and unsafe, and then put us up on some risers, about 100 yards (!) from the stage, right in the middle of crowd.

Johnny Hallyday ... from afar

Johnny Hallyday ... from afar


Well, how do you think a mob of Johnny Hallyday fans who’d been drinking all day and waiting for hours for their idol to appear onstage reacted to a group of photographers entirely blocking their view? I got hit by 2 bottles (thankfully plastic ones filled with water) and my gear and clothing got pretty drenched. Just to make things better, I didn’t get any usable images since they put us so unbelievably far from the stage, with the crowd’s raised arms blocking any chance we had to shoot. You can imagine how happy I was that evening.

My favorite French story of the week involved my mobile phone carrier Orange, part of the giant France Telecom:

French telecom firm fined for ‘dirty Arab’ password
Orange was fined EUR 8,000 for giving out the password “salearabe” which translates to dirty Arab.

The French telecom group Orange was fined Thursday for giving the phrase “salearabe” (“dirtyarab” in English) to a customer as an internet connection password. Mohamed Zaidi, a garage owner in this southwestern city, was sent a letter containing the password in December 2007 after he complained to the firm that he was having problems connecting to the internet. He immediately complained to the police and an inquiry was opened. The telecom operator Orange was fined EUR 500 and ordered to pay EUR 8,000 (USD 11,000) in expenses.

One great moment I forgot to mention in my last blog entry. For one of the events during the film festival, the photographers were provided a bus along with a 3-motorcycle police escort to go from Cannes to Antibes to photograph the amfAR gala at the beautiful Hotel du Cap. All was fine until, as we approached Antibes, one of the police motorcycles made a false move and another of the cycles actually crashed into him and went down!

police escort crash
That’s always embarrassing to do but especially bad when you’re escorting a group of photographers! Luckily no one was hurt so it was pretty damn funny.

Some images of the week …

Swiss Pipe Players

Swiss Pipe Players

Swiss Man with Goats

Swiss Man with Goats

Goat Petting

Goat Petting

Individually Packaged Bread at the Monoprix

Individually Packaged Bread at the Monoprix

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Second Baseman on June 5, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Absolutely marvelous shots at Roland Garros….Say hello to Mr. Obama when you photograph him….

    Reply

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