In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of her favorite influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers. This week Clara Morgan speaks with red carpet photographer Jennifer Graylock, whose photo archive of celebrities and fashion is one of the largest in existence.
With over 20 years of experience, Jennifer is the founder and CEO of Graylock.com, a full service photographic agency that specializes in fashion, celebrity, and entertainment photography. Her work regularly appears in Us Weekly, People, TV Guide, InStyle, Glamour, and Vogue, to name a few.
Jennifer graduated from Montana State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in photography and holds a Master of Business Administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Jennifer moved to the Big Apple in the early 80s and began assisting several New York City photographers early in her career. She also found steady freelance work at various magazines through the mid-90s. Shortly thereafter, she became one of the founders of Fashion Wire Daily, a newswire service devoted to fashion, celebrity style, entertainment, and lifestyle news. She was the initial photography consultant for George magazine and worked on the prototype with the then-magazine-novice, John F. Kennedy Jr.
Jennifer has won numerous awards for her fine art black and white photography, including the Phillip Eisenberg Award, and has had numerous critically-acclaimed, one-person and group shows in New York City. Jennifer has captured some of the world’s most glamorous and iconic personalities,and she has amassed a resume of mega stars that include the who’s who of Hollywood, including Angelia Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, the Kardashians, Madonna, Adele, Justin Bieber, and many others.
1. When and how did you first realize that you wanted to work in the industry and business you are in?
During college I wanted to be a top photographer in the fashion and celebrity genres. I truly realized this was my dream when covering the Paris fashion shows in early 1999-2000, meeting Anna Wintour and all the top fashion designers – Armani, Lagerfeld, Tom Ford, Valentino – and photographing fashion icon Catherine Denueve for the first time.
2. Any celebrity clients or memorable stories related to your business that you want to share?
Valentino once delayed a couture fashion show to show me personally all his designs and have me meet each embroider and seamstress dedicated to each garment. It was an amazing experience, I remember saying “Maestro, please, I am only a photographer,” but he said, “no, you are a lovely person who enjoys my fashion, I want to show you.” The show can wait. When Valentino finished describing all the fashions and semi-precious stones and corals attached to each dress, he said, “okay, now go out to your position, I’ll wait ‘til you are in your spot and we will start.” It was amazing, I ran to my spot and the show began.
3. What is a typical day like for you?
Hours of paperwork, editing, database management, calls and speaking with clients, then off to the next shoot.
And what do you like to do on a day off?
Relax. A perfect day off would be to get a massage and go to the beach.
4. What are the next big upcoming events in your industry?
The People’s Choice Awards, SAG Awards, NY Fashion Week and the Oscars.
What are people doing differently today, compared to 10-15 years ago?
10-15 years ago most photographers were using film; today film is not used unless it’s for a special art request. Back then, digital was considered as low quality, but now everything is digital and considered high quality and the standard of the industry. Immediate gratification is the name of the game these days, images must be sent out instantaneously.
5. What are your favorite restaurants in New York?
Cookshop, Esca, and Buddha Bar. They are all energetic, upbeat restaurants with delicious food and a nice atmosphere.
6. What are your favorite bars in New York?
The Boom Boom Room at the Standard – fantastic views and great drinks, Employees Only, and Pegu Club – for their great mixology programs.
7. What are your favorite locations to visit in New York?
Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, Highline/Hudson Yards, and Central Park. I think these locations combined offer the best of both modern and old New York.
8. Which three events on your annual calendar will you will absolutely not miss?
The Golden Globes, Oscars, and NY Fashion Week.
9. What was your best New York moment?
Covering my first CFDA Fashion Awards and later spending time with all favorite celebrities and fashion designers. Unforgettable day and evening.
Being an eye witness to the 911 terrorist attack.
10. Tell us something that people do not know about you.
I have an MBA, create art furniture, and have a stock image library of over two million images [www.GraylockPhoto.com].
11. How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic, and usually business/professional when working.
12. Who is your style icon?
Patricia Field, Gwen Stefani, Carolina Herrera, and Anna Sui all have great style.
Where do you find your style inspiration?
Everywhere –from the street styles to the red carpet.
13. Who is your favorite fashion designer, artist or architect – and why?
Patricia Field; she single-handedly changed the face of fashion as the costume designer for Sex and the City. Her style can still be seen today on the runways of top designers. The eclectic look she perfected, which broke all the fashion rules at the time, opened the way for new designers to create artistic, exciting designs. Her style and creativity influenced everyone from the people next door, to club kids, celebrities and Anna Wintour.
14. Name your favorite… and tell us why:
Colorful Pucci-esque pants and jacket that, as fashion journalist Hamish Bowles when he walked by me said, “looked fantastic.”
Viktor and Rolf Flower Bomb, love the name, and it reminds me of a fun carnival with its cotton candy notes. It also reminds me of their exciting fashion shows I attended in Paris.
Pauline (French film), Jackie (for its historical content and view), and Some Like it Hot (always makes me laugh).
d. TV show.
House of Cards and The Crown.
15. What is your favorite restaurant in the world?
Jean-George in Paris.
What is it you love about it, and what is your favorite dish?
Anything on the menu is just wonderful, flavorful, exciting, and different.
16. Name your favorite vacation spot and hotel?
Rome, Italy, at the St. Regis Hotel.
What makes these places so special?
Rome, Rome, Rome – la dolce vita and its history.
The St. Regis Hotel is a grand palace from 1894 and features beautiful artworks, antiques and decor – it is like staying in a museum.
17. Which three items can you not live without?
Camera, sunglasses, and lipstick.
18. What song, meditation or mantra can you listen to on repeat? And why?
Cantoma by Phil Mison. The entire album is very relaxing. Also, anything by Thievery Corporation.
19. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you like to meet? And why?
I’ve met just about everyone but would love to meet Queen Elizabeth II. She has seen and experienced so much, would love to know more about her.
20. Is there anything else you would like to share, discuss or promote?
The creation of my face chairs www.FaceChairs.com will be featured in an episode of Billion Dollar Buyer, and airs February 7, 2017.
My new product line of art pillows have launchedm as well as several new mid-modern benches and chairs. It’s wonderful to be able to create functional art furniture, utilizing my love for furnishings while incorporating my photography.
Photo of Jennifer Graylock – Courtesy of Katy Winn/JustWinnk.com
Other Photos – Courtesy of Jennifer Graylock/Graylock.com