EW photo editor Michele Romero on Michael Muller and “Entertainer of the Year” Jon Hamm

Entertainment Weekly‘s “2010 Entertainers of the Year” issue hit stands this past Friday, featuring country-music juggernaut Taylor Swift on the cover, plus three bonus covers: Glee‘s Jane Lynch, Modern Family‘s Rico Rodriguez (he and his fellow kid castmates are no. 5 on EW‘s list), and Mad Men leading man Jon Hamm.

Two of the bonus covers are by Stockland Martel photographers: this one by Art Streiber, which came from Art’s big triple-cover Modern Family shoot for EW in October

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Photo by Art Streiber for Entertainment Weekly.

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And this one by Michael Muller, which the magazine commissioned for the “Entertainers” issue…

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Jon Hamm. Photo by Michael Muller for Entertainment Weekly.

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Michael also shot a portrait of Jon Hamm for the inside of the magazine, and both images are so handsome—so Hammsome, if you will—that I wrote EW photo editor Michele Romero to ask her about the shoot. Here’s what she said:

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Entertainment Weekly‘s Entertainers of the Year issue is an opportunity for the magazine to commission original photography with a celebratory purpose. In some ways, we are throwing a visual awards party.  Therefore, the book needs to feel like the reader is the guest at a great party.

Michael Muller was hired to photograph the actor Jon Hamm because we wanted some iconic photography that would portray the actor in a powerful and new visual way. Obviously, Jon Hamm is handsome, so it should be easy for anyone to photograph him. The challenge is to make a picture that is also interesting and engages the viewer beyond the subject’s visage. Muller is unbelievably versatile and also is capable of nailing many concepts in a short amount of time. The guy has energy.

Our concept was to have Jon Hamm in a tux and a simple explosive shot of him uncorking a bottle of champagne. What turned up in the edit was photography so strong and viscerally powerful that we all noted how much we loved them. Muller took photographs of Jon Hamm that I might pull 20 years from now and still admire.  In fact, I love the shots that we did not run but that will appear in a gallery on EW.com in about a week.

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Jon Hamm. Photo by Michael Muller for Entertainment Weekly.

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Muller is a fan of cinematic lighting and, even though he is a really cool, edgy guy, the work is that of a classicist.  I want the photograph of Jon Hamm with SMOKE coming off him for my wall because Jon Hamm is certainly hot and a smoking actor, but I am visually thrilled to see the colors chosen for this photograph, the composition of the smoke plumes (which were painted by Rick Floyd, the prop stylist with liquid CO2), and the attitude of the man in the portrait.

Muller is a proper portrait photographer. So I’m likening him to a painter. A great painter will paint a person, and years later I will be intrigued by the piece, no matter who is depicted on the canvas. Same for Muller. He is a fine artist.”

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Thank you, Michele!

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