Shooting Covers for Wine Spectator

Back in the early 1990’s I shot covers for Wine Spectator. The relationship started just as I was forming a business relationship with Tony Carlson, who I had recently fell in love with. He had been working for WS on and off for a while, mostly shooting bottles on a pretty table cloth. This was when the WS HQ was still located in San Francisco, when the magazine was the size of concert posters.

One day the art director Kathy McGilvery called to ask if we’d like to shoot their first ever swimsuit issue. We did, and the shoot happened at Jeremiah Tower’s Stars restaurant in downtown San Francisco. It was a hard shoot, occurring mostly at a crowded cocktail hour, but it was a big hit. I’ll post an image when I find a copy.

We shot a lot of covers for WS at this time. But after Tony completely threw his back out by helping to move a baby grand piano, Kathy asked me to fly down to Venice Beach in Southern California to shoot actor Dudley Moore. He was a big wine enthusiast at the time and contributor Thomas Matthews managed to arrange an interview. Tony was pissed not to be involved, but hey, he was the one who opted to help move a piano up the stairs.

The shoot went well and Dudley was prominently featured on the cover. I hung the cover on our office wall at the studio where we were partners at a state-owned building down on Second Street near China Basin. (The Giant’s ballpark is located there now.) One morning we noticed a bullet hole in one of our windows facing 2nd Street. Then, we saw that the bullet had hit Dudley’s WS cover, right between his eyes. How bizarre, we thought, that he would be hit that way. The story is better told in a video I made in 2006 to enter into WS’s first video contest. It did not even place.

Kathy continued to give me jobs, at one point saying that I was better with people than Tony. That did not make him happy, but I took the jobs.

Here are a couple more covers.

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