R. Kelly is in the news this week. He is releasing a new album, and has been all over the news. My experiences with him were some of the worst I have ever had.
When his first album came out, his publicist asked me if I wanted to do a shoot with him. He was opening for Salt N Pepa, and she also offered me a shoot with them the same night. I had worked with them in the past and they are always fun to shoot. So I said sure- no problem!
I arrived at the venue and met with Robert’s manager, who showed me into an empty dressing room and asked me to set up. I unpacked and set up my lights and stepped out into the hallway to wait for my subject. I knew I was supposed to photograph Robert just before he was to go on, and then move all my stuff down the hall to S-N_P’s dressing room. About 10 minutes before Robert was supposed to hit the stage, a crew guy walked into the room I was set up in. He came out a minute later. Without telling me, he locked the door to the room my stuff was set up in. Five minutes later, Robert’s manager came by to inform me that Robert had decided not to do the photo shoot. I asked him to unlock the door, so I could get my stuff out of the room. He told me he didn’t have a key and didn’t have time to find anyone who had one. So I sat backstage during Robert’s entire set, missing shooting him live, and missing my shoot with S-N-P.
After the set, the crew guy came back and unlocked the door to the room. I went in to pack my stuff. A few minutes later, the door opened and Robert walked into the room, sat down on a bench, and stared at me while I packed my stuff. Man, was that AWKWORD!!!
My next experience was a few years later. There was a charity album being recorded around the country. The producer was bringing the master tape around from city to city, and getting R&B stars to sing a verse. Robert was asked to sing on it and his publicist (The same one) asked me to meet them at the studio to shoot some photos. I was told to meet them at noon. I arrived to find about 20 guys waiting for Robert to sing for about 20 seconds. Robert showed up at about 5PM, no apologies for making all those people waste a full afternoon waiting for him!
I got one usable photo!