“If you FANCY the portrait assignment with writer James Patterson, the gig is yours Cy.” That was the offer from my Sunday Times editor in London, England. “Since it’s Florida, we’d love to see some palm trees!”
I responded with “I’m available, and maybe Mr. Patterson has a guest house I can move into.”
I did my research to look for subject matter to talk about with Mr. Patterson. I don’t like to talk with my subject about what they’re best known for because they’re probably bombarded by those questions on a daily basis. After becoming a fan of his Facebook Fan Page, I saw that he recently had TWO holes in one. Bingo, golf is enough subject matter for me! I’ve played golf since the age of 10, and now do a lot of work with the Golf Channel.
I traveled down the Florida Turnpike a few days later on Monday, March 11th, 2013 with orlando videographer Craig Kotilinek. Our address revealed a gorgeous Palm Beach oceanfront mansion. A member from Mr. Patterson’s staff greeted us in the driveway, and showed us inside. We set up a Profoto 7B on a light stand, overlooking his front yard and the Atlantic Ocean. Mr. Patterson quickly came out of the kitchen and I introduced myself. “Hello Mr. Patterson, my name is Cy.” He responded with “Nice to meet you Cy, call me Jim.”
Golf was immediately the subject matter as I asked Jim about his recent hole in ones. His eyes lit up. He told us all about them, and the golf competition he enjoys with his wife Sue.
It was downright shocking to hear that Jim still uses a pad a paper to write. I asked him if we could use them as a prop for a photo, he said they were upstairs in his office. I didn’t want to trouble him, but then he invited Craig and I upstairs to his office. I was amazed to see the inner workings of his business life. There were dozens of manuscripts and screenplays in progress. Everything was neatly labeled, and claims his assistant cleaned up the place a few short hours ago. It was fun to discover a golf photo of Jim golfing in Thailand, surrounded by yaks.
Back downstairs, it was amazing to see a huge print of Micahel Phelps beating Serbia’s Milorad Cavic in the 100 meter butterfly at the 2008 Olympics. The photo was taken with an underwater camera by famed Sports Illustrated photographer Heinz Kluetmeier. Patterson’s wife is a former All-American national swimmer.
I talked Jim into going outside to make the portrait above.
In the hour I worked with him, I can tell you that he loves his family, loves to work, has no plans to retire, loves golf and enjoys sharing stories. He’s a great guy, and I already look forward to working with him again down the road.
To read an interview with James Patterson in the New York Times, view this Jonathan Mahler article from January 2010.
Here’s a link to our Sunday Times article, written by Ali Hussain titled ” Fame and Fortune: I like a thrill but hedge my bets.”