Seattle Celebrity Portrait Photographer Mat Hayward: Sandra Bernhard

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Sandra Bernhard


I knew I would be shooting some portraits of the hilarious comedy icon Sandra Bernhard at some point in time on the day she was set to perform her first of five shows “I love being me, don’t you?” at the Triple but I didn’t know when exactly it would happen as her schedule was a bit all over the place.  I set up my gear in the morning and started to wait.

Sandra was set to go on stage at 7:30.  As the clock was ticking I was getting concerned it wasn’t going to happen.  At 7:15 her Manager found me and let me know she was ready.  He and I had already discussed the fact that time was very tight and that I needed to be quick and efficient.  The lights and settings were set and ready so I told him I would fire just 3 or 4 quick shots and we would be done.

She came into my studio, I fired 3 shots and said “Ok, we’re good.”  She looked at me like I was nuts and said “F that, you’re taking my picture!”  I was stoked.  She told me I needed to change the song however as the current song playing was depressing.  I switched it to She’s a Lady by Tom Jones as I remembered seeing her HBO special with Tom Jones years ago.  She gave her approval then danced and sang to the song for the next several minutes while I fired off a ton of great portraits.  She couldn’t have been more nice or fun.  It was such a pleasure.

Shot with a ProFoto Ringflash, 3 Elinchrome D-Lights modified with an Octobank and two 8″ reflectors.