Shooting with Neal Preston
When American Airlines upgraded me to business class on the 6-hour flight from JFK to LAX, I already knew that something was in my favour. Then the person next to me helped stow my carry-on, a chivalrous gesture which is rarely seen anymore, and we struck up a pleasant conversation. With his New York accent and un-edited language, I immediately liked him.
After discovering he was a photographer, and from the sheepish way he said it, I had a feeling he was pretty good.
After a little more prying on my part to see his work, he proceeded to pull out a first draft of the book he was working on. Just from the cover, which was the iconic photo of Bob Marley with his hands thrown back and profile perfectly illuminated, I realised I was sitting next to royalty in the world of Rock-and-Roll photography.
We spent the flight talking about his experiences and travels. As the official tour photographer for Led Zeppelin, Queen, Bruce Springsteen and The Who, and having also shot The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson and many more, he had many stories to share (some of which are probably only reserved for those seated next to him on long-haul flights).
The 6 hours flew by (pun intended), and at the end of the flight he gave me a piece of paper and said "Here is my email, send me your information.. I would love to buy a bag for my girlfriend. And if you ever come back to LA, I will shoot your collection".
So I did. With an offer like that, how could I not?! I decided to "pass through" LA on my way back to Italy from Texas (that is my warped sense of geography now that I live in Europe, as everything within the US "seems" close). We rounded up a team and shot in the streets of LA. I wasn't quite prepared for working with someone of his level, but the shots looked great, and we had a LOT of fun.