Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Photos By Michael Kitada – Part One

Here are nine photos I took while working as a photojournalist at the Orange County Register Newspaper in Southern California. While I enjoyed my time at the Register and had the pleasure of meeting many interesting personalities, I don’t miss the frequent travel or the harried nature of the newspaper business.

Here’s a bit of background on each photograph.

1) Nicole Kidman was radiant at the Academy Awards at the Kodak Theater. Security was incredibly tight and we were searched about 3 times at different checkpoints as we walked to our positions. Each media group has about 1 foot by 1 foot to stand in, even the TV cameras! See the little hedges, that’s the only thing holding the media throng back from trampling Nicole.

2) Charlize Theron was at a different Oscars. I was at the entrance where the stars first came out onto the red carpet. I was surrounded by papparazzi, all screaming and yelling and trying to get Charlize to look at them. Well, this sophisticated photojournalist yelled out, “Show us the back of the dress,” and sure enough, she smiled and showed us the back of that incredible dress. A tv personality said she was the triple crown winner of the night, Hair, Make-up and Dress!

3) Sharon & Ozzie made their appearance at the Emmy’s at the height of their popularity and right after Sharon was diagnosed with cancer. Ozzie hugged and kissed her in the middle of the red carpet with thousands of fans screaming and going crazy and it made for a really touching moment.

4) This was taken at the Republican National Convention in 2000 in Philadelphia. I waited 6 hours standing with a billion other people smashed around me for George Bush to make his triumphant acceptance speech and for all the balloons to drop. I jumped onto a delegates chair and shot like crazy while the photogs in the national pool were right on stage with the candidates. After all that I transmitted my photos back to the newspaper and promptly lost all the images on my computer. The only ones I have from that night are the 5 that were sent back to the paper. It was my first computer crash in the age of digital and the last time I didn’t back images up asap.

5) Kobe Bryant on media day at the Lakers training camp. Bryant was just coming off the trial in Colorado and the place was a media zoo. The team photographer was shooting a promotional image and I was able to sneak in and grab one of the few images of him alone that day.

6) The Angels were celebrating their championship with a parade that ended up at the stadium. I pulled the job of getting to fly in a helicopter, usually a very cool day. This day was different. I think 14 helicopters were circling the stadium and I was actually scared that we were going to crash. It was insane and the Sheriff’s helicopter was in charge about 100 feet below us trying to coordinate the madness. Go Angels! My favorite thing about this image is that there are two co-workers in this photo and they are both doing nothing. Just standing around looking at the sky. Love it!

7) Jennifer and Brad were truly Hollywood royalty when they showed up at the Emmys at the Shrine. This was the loudest I have ever heard a crowd shout when people realized that Jen & Brad were actually there. At the time they were the “it” couple and everyone want a piece of them, so when they appeared right in front of me with beautiful light I was ready. One of my favorite celebrity couple pics.

8) James Franco had just started to hit it big when I was asked to photograph him. I showed up early to the hotel in LA where the shoot was to take place. I met the publicity flak and spent about 2 minutes scouting a location when the flak said, “James is ready to go,” he knocked on the door that was right by one of my locations and to my surprise James Franco answered the door and and agreed to shoot about a half hour early. He was a super nice guy and of course, every woman I’ve ever known has asked me about this photograph. :)

9) John Wooden or coach which was what he told me to call him. I spent 2 1/2 hours with the legend in his Encino condo. Smart, witty and one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. A magical afternoon hanging with Wizard of Westwood. His house is covered with awards and trophies and I even found the last national basketball championship trophy hidden under a baseball glove!

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3 Responses

November 19, 2009
Lisa Hindsley

Hi Mike. This blog is wonderful! I wanted to comment on this picture of James Franco. I love the striping in the background in the shadows, and the fact that he has a very faint stripe on his suit, and then right where he bends his knee, there are more stripes created in the fabric. I love how that all works together. Great shot Mike!

November 19, 2009
Lisa Hindsley

Oh- and when I looked again- even his fingers create stripes. Awesome!!!

June 6, 2010

Very interesting article. Keep writing dude !

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