Art Streiber on photographing Jimmy Kimmel, the host of this year’s Oscars, for the cover of Variety

“In the footsteps of Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and Billy Crystal, here comes Jimmy Kimmel to host the Oscars! Jimmy is dry and witty and completely up to the task. In front of the camera, he is completely game and actually willing to go too far,” says Art Streiber, who photographed Kimmel for the cover of Variety.

“Oscar hosts are usually on a tight schedule from just after Thanksgiving and running straight through to Oscar night. They’ve got jokes to write, television promos to shoot, interviews to do, opening montages to star in, and photo shoots to do—all while still working at their day jobs. And that’s exactly what Jimmy was dealing with when my crew and I spent an hour with him on a Friday afternoon in mid December.

We had to be incredibly respectful of Jimmy’s time, and we had three different looks to accomplish: We had to photograph Jimmy on white, with some very glittery gold curtains, and in silhouette. So…we had to figure out a way to get all three of those looks in a hurry and on a budget!

Our brilliant digital tech, Eric Vlasic of With Technology, suggested that we simply raise our gold shimmery curtains over Jimmy’s head in order to shoot against the white cyc. And it worked!

I asked Jimmy if the show writes itself, and he replied, ‘Absolutely not. If it did, it wouldn’t be funny.’”


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Jimmy Kimmel. Photo by Art Streiber for Variety.


Photo by Art Streiber for Variety.


Photo by Art Streiber for Variety.


Photo by Art Streiber for Variety.





Art stands in for Jimmy. Production still courtesy Art Streiber Photography.


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For this week’s Variety magazine cover story about how Jimmy Kimmel is going to kill it at the Oscars on Sunday…we needed shimmery gold curtains. So we splurged and went to Party City in West LA and bought the 8' gold doorway curtains for $8.99. Then we built two 12’ lengths of curtains and lit the back set of curtains with two small strips aimed at the middle of the curtains in order to have the light fall off on the top and bottom. We flagged the strips because we layered Jimmy in between the two sets of curtains and we didn’t want any of that light to spill onto our subject. The light in front was a skinned Elinchrom octabank and a head with a 7” reflector set just inside the top of the octabank, which gave the curtains (and Jimmy) a very shiny look. Thank you to @tylerthings for a great production and for purchasing sushi and muffins for breakfast. Thank you to @belioff and @jamesbianchi for building the light and eating the sushi and muffins. And thank you to Eric Vlasic for having the good sense to suggest that we raise the gold curtains (as opposed to rolling them off the set) when we needed to shoot against the white cyc. @elinchrom_ltd @profotglobal @partycity…seriously. @jimmykimmellive @jimmykimmel #jimmykimmel #Oscars @Variety @theacademy #lucianwynnisthegoldenchild

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