Stars Come Out at Nevada State Library
For Charles Adams, the typical posed celebrity isn’t the most interesting photo subject.
Strip them of makeup, have them make odd or unusual faces, and suddenly photographing a celebrity becomes more interesting.
As a celebrity photographer for 25 years, Adams has caught Hollywood stars at their best and in their less glamorous moments
Once Adams caught Marlon Brando at a charity event and asked Brando to smile.
“That’s not me,” Brando replied. The crowd that had gathered laughed at the exchange, and Brando smiled.
“I just started popping off because the smile only lasted for two seconds,” Adams said.
The picture of a bearded Brando, wearing sunglasses and a straw hat, is included in a collection of Adams’ work at the Nevada State Library & Archives.
The show of 53 of Adams’ photos is on display through April 24. The collection, titled “When the Stars Come Out,” shows celebrities from Brando to George Burns, Sharon Stone to David Hasselhoff and Bette Midler.
“I don’t try to capture the glamor and glitz, I try to capture the inner soul,” Adams said. “If they stand there and pose, it’s boring. If you can catch a little piece of them, it’s interesting.”
Adams worked for Columbia Pictures in the 1970s as a set decorator. On a trip to southern France he discovered his talent for photography. Friends encouraged him to submit his photos to the Los Angeles Times and the newspaper published them. Because he worked in the picture industry, taking pictures of celebrities wasn’t that difficult. After one picture was sold, he was called for others and his new life as a photographer took off.
“I’m not a professional,” Adams said. “But when you shoot Hollywood celebrities, it gives you more notoriety than shooting plant life.”
One of his favorite photos is of Sharon Stone with wet hair and no makeup. Another of his photos shows a very young, pre-Knight Rider David Hasselhoff.
“He came from Chicago and had this determination that he would be a star,” Adams said. “I caught many of them in the early stages of their Hollywood careers.”
About 25 photos are dedicated to an Adams favorite, rhythm and blues star Ruth Brown, who was nominated for three Grammy awards this year after more than 50 years in the business.
A Zephyr Cove resident since 1990, Adams said he thought he had put Hollywood away. Then friends Ralph and Lou Phillips convinced Adams that Carson City residents and visitors would enjoy his photos. He dug Hollywood out, hoping people will want to see photos of the famous.
“Photos don’t get old. When people want a picture of George Burns, they don’t care if it was 1985,” Adams said. “People like to see celebrities.”
The exhibit was formed with the help of the Nevada Artists Association.