Celebrity Photographer Timothy White Speaks On Being Part of History & The Morrison Hotel Gallery Endless Summer Exhibition

If you find your walls lack art, here is your chance to nab internationally recognized photography, representing the best of the best in music and Hollywood culture. Morrison Hotel Gallery’s web-exclusive Endless Summer Exhibition shows a collection of photos that capture famous musicians and actors enjoying an effortless summer. One of the gallery’s partners and curators is Timothy White. Timothy White is a well-known award-winning photographer. He is one of the world’s most sought-after photographers, and for a good reason. He started his career in the early 1980s and since then, he has photographed some of the most recognized faces in the world. Photography captures a moment in history, and therefore nostalgia. Timothy White has been a big part of that history. Read our Q & A with Timothy White to find out more.

Celebrity Photographer, Timothy White

Cultivated: When did you first decide to join the Morrison Hotel Gallery as a partner/co-owner and why was it important to you?  

TW: I joined with my partners about 10 years ago after curating a number of shows with other photographers. I felt that there was something that I could bring to the table and help to grow the gallery. I opened up the LA gallery about 8 years ago and it’s been a great success. I love the work of my fellow photographers and feel I’m a part of carrying forward an important piece of history.

Cultivated: Morrison Hotel Gallery represents some of the best arts and culture nostalgia. Please describe what Hollywood and music photography means to you? 

TW: Again, I feel that we represent a part of pop culture history and we have the opportunity to keep moving it forward to new generations.

Cultivated: The Endless Summer exhibit includes your work. What is the story behind the 1989 N.W.A photo?  

I was hired to do a shoot by Esquire Magazine of a new group called N.W.A. They were exciting, dangerous and saying things that weren’t said before. I don’t think they were quite aware of their potential fame then. I had this spot at Malibu Beach that I thought was cool. When I met them, I jumped in the car with Dr. Dre. I’ll never forget this because he reached under his seat and showed me a pistol that he had. I don’t know what we said, it was a long time ago, but I got the sense that he was trying to intimidate me a bit. The truth is I was just some kid from New Jersey with long hair who was excited about this photo career. I thought this was a cool opportunity to take some great pictures and I really wasn’t into any scene that would have intimidated me. We did some pictures by the water and I shot over girls in their bikinis laying on the beach, I kind of shot past them, so they were out of focus in the foreground. I think Rolling Stones used that picture after the fact. I had them kind of clustered together in an area and I started taking some pictures of them and Dre’s phone rang. He had this big boxy cellphone of the moment, this was 1989, and he picked it up and started talking while we were all sort of posed and ready. It was sort of interrupting the shot, so I paused. All of the sudden I see this white surfer pass in the background with a surfboard, walking out of the water, and I thought this was a great moment and composition. I clicked the shutter and it was such a great picture – Dr. Dre on the phone, the other guys still looking at me posing, not aware that Dre wasn’t paying attention, and the surfer just walking through the picture. Looking back at it, everything fell into place and it was this great moment. Really the beginning of their career and the beginnings and highlight of my career. Those pictures from that day really became popular and everybody wanted them. I think it was because the guys really became big after that and were no longer as accommodating to photographers. At that moment in time, I did have their attention, and I did have them giving me their all, and it worked.

Cultivated: As a celebrity photographer you develop trusting relationships with the people you photograph. What is your process like and are you currently planning to expand into anything new?

TW: I’m always working on new ideas and new bodies of work. I have a knack for making people comfortable and it’s always worked for me in getting my subjects to relax and to collaborate with me on creating great images.

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