- In: Culture
- Published on 25 June 2012
- By James
As photographer Norman Seeff tells it, "In 1978 I got a call to shoot the Blues Brothers. They were new on the scene for me and I wasn’t yet familiar with their work. But the guys in my crew were completely thrilled with the idea of filming this duo and convinced me that we should definitely film the session.
Dan [Aykroyd] and John arrived in full Blues Brothers outfits – it was actually pretty strange to have people in the studio dressed in suits. When they arrived they were less than communicative or pleasant- not exactly excited for another photo shoot. My usual approach to filming a session, if I didn’t mention it up front to the subject, was to begin shooting stills and once we were having fun, the energy was flowing, and we’d developed a little trust, I would ask the artists if it was ok if I brought my film crew in.
My cameraman, John Sharaf, was in the front room of the studio with the rest of the crew when I started the session. I had just begun shooting some interesting frames- Dan and John had incredibly expressive body movements – I was looking at the two of them through the lens and I was getting excited because I could see and feel the potential of this session. Suddenly Belushi swings around and angrily points to the door and says, “Get that f**king camera out of here!” My cameraman in his excitement and enthusiasm decided to come down the corridor with a 16mm camera on his shoulder and begin filming before I had the chance to ask their approval.
This turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. John quickly cooled down and the session went on. As we continued to work the session morphed into one of the most brilliant and creative experiences I’d ever had. The two of them took off, there were props, mind bogglingly funny poses, and fascinating satirical skits they’d perform. I got hundreds of shots.
I developed the one can of film and all we have are about 16 seconds of image with John Belushi turning to the camera with the dialogue being “get that f**king camera out here”. In terms of my film archives it was truly a loss and something I am still sad about to this day. We had an amazing time together nonetheless and the spontaneity of my approach as a photographer and the genius of their interaction flowed together effortlessly."
See the photos from the session below: