How did Leo compare to other celebrities in terms of how they treated you and other photographers?
I never had a problem with how he treated me. The only thing is sometimes he hides his face. But you never get a palpable hostility from him. You get a little discomfort, but he’s not a mean person. I think he’s genuinely a nice person. Once when he was outside the Mercer, around the same time I got him that time, he had a little posse with him and some of his friends were being a little aggressive to the photographers. And Leo called them off. He didn’t allow them to be overly aggressive. It could’ve gotten out of hand. So he’s genuinely a peaceful person, in my opinion.
How valuable is a photo of Leo?
When you get a picture of Leo DiCaprio, you’re going to sell it. Right now the market is terrible. I never made a lot of money off Leo DiCaprio at all. Many celebrities I’ve made, you know, a ton of money on. But not Leo DiCaprio. You make some money, and consistently. His image is valuable. He’s considered a sexy star. For a male star. By the magazines. People want to see pictures of Leo DiCaprio.
I’m surprised. He does seem like a consistent subject. Could that be the reason he doesn't sell for a lot? Consistency?
I once took pictures of a Leo DiCaprio lookalike, I think he was from Sweden or Denmark. He was sitting at a restaurant on Madison Avenue. I got a tip. I went and photographed him. I made more money off the lookalike photograph that I ever made off Leonardo DiCaprio. I swear to god it’s true. I swear. I had a big spread in a Spanish Magazine, Hola. It sold all over the world. They called him Leonardo DiCappucino. He was sipping coffee. It was a big spread and it made a lot of money. I never made a lot off Leonardo DiCaprio. I made, you know, a bit of money. I don’t really care. I see him, I shoot him. And that’s it.
I want to talk about one of the more popular Leo photos of yours. Him on the set of Celebrity in 1997, months before Titanic was released. What comes to mind when you see this photo?
If I recall correctly, and it’s been a long time, I think it was at the Stanhope Hotel, near the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It was a gorgeous hotel. I believe they were filming a scene inside the hotel. It may have been through a window where I got a focus on him. He had this sort of candid moment where he wasn’t turning away or anything. It’s not a big money maker, but it captured something. I have a hard time [talking about it.] You can see his mind churning. He’s not hiding anything.
Do you think Leo has changed much since the release of Titanic, from your perspective
He’s got an ego about him, like anybody would when you’re successful. He’s conscious of who he is. But I don’t think he’s changed all that much. He’s a little more mature. He’s become environmentally conscious. He just comes and goes. Ducks his head and moves on.
I’m relieved to hear that he’s genuinely a nice guy.
He’s a gentle soul. Just like his friend Tobey Maguire. They may not always be thrilled, but they have a little self respect and know how to act in public. They’re not hostile jerks.