Britney Spears: An All-Time Favorite
I’ve met and photographed many celebrities, athletes and musical icons but one of my all-time favorites to work with was Britney Spears. That’s right, the 90’s pop music icon herself. Even if you don’t know or recall her music, you know who Britney is.
A design company that I worked with on some of my NFL quarterbacks coffee table books hired me to follow her, photograph her and basically be an all-access tour photographer. I followed her during several concerts in South Florida and Tampa for a photo-driven, authorized pictorial biography titled “Stages”.
An International Pop Star
Britney was blowing up all over the globe and her influence was enormous. Young women idolized her and posters of her hung in the bedrooms of teens all over the world. She transcended style and power to her fans. While many adults weren’t quite sure what to make of her, there was no denying her presence in their homes. Her music was booming from the bedroom stereos of their daughters and her dances were being learned in living rooms across the world.
I wouldn’t call myself fan of her music, but then again I was a forty year old man and definitely not her target audience. It’s funny how later in life (now that I have a young daughter), I have come to like and appreciate her music. Children really are the lens that changes how we see the world, aren’t they?
Learning A Britney Dance
I had the opportunity to watch and photograph several shows during that tour. I saw so many shows that I understood the choreography and dance moves so well I knew what the next step of her routine was. This made it easy to visualize and create strong images. Britney was extremely accessible, and before every show she would have a meeting with her band and her dancers to do a briefing. I had the opportunity to sit in on those briefing sessions so I would know what was coming.
There were even times during the show where her and her dancers would coordinate a move right into my camera shot. This made being her tour photographer incredibly cool. She was also very loose and casual backstage before the concerts. I never felt unable to approach her or talk to her as an equal. Britney truly came off as a very regular and cool chick with incredible talent. She also has more energy than I could ever imagine!
More Than A Rising Star
It’s a very cool experience to be around a performer on their way up. There is a grit and hustle comparable to a college athlete trying to make it to the pros. Britney Spears, on the other hand, was at the peak of her career (the big leagues) when I had the opportunity to work with her. I can’t even begin to explain how rare it is that an artist of her caliber and at that stage of her career would be so candid and open with the world. She was authentic in a setting that would have made it so easy to be otherwise.
Britney’s Most Recent Chapter
Now, Britney Spears is in the third part of her career and doing almost no live shows. She had a residency in Las Vegas that has since concluded. I am not sure that I would relish the opportunity to follow her the same way I once did. Her legal situation and the issues with her father not withstanding, she seems like she’s been through a lot. She has endured many things emotionally and if you read the news, you’ve seen pieces of her life sprinkled among the tabloids.
Her career has not just taken a backseat, it is in a pop-up trailer being pulled behind a Winnebago of her problems. As always I wish her the best and I hope that she has everything she ever wants. I hope that I have the opportunity to work with her again someday when she’s happy, open and free to be herself.