This shoot was supposed to be HUGE. Shooting Mike Tyson in a portrait session was something I had thought about for a long time, and knew it would be a big step up. If I had the ability to work with him for more than 2 minutes, I was confident that I could get some great shots and make it a great experience. I called for assistants, rented a 3 pack of profoto heads and light modifiers, and set aside my entire day for a call from a friend saying that he was going to be with Mike Tyson at a signing near the Comic Convention in San Diego. That was all i needed. I set up in an outdoor location and waited for 9AM. That passed and I wanted for 11AM. Turns out his car broke down and he wouldnt be free until after 2PM.
I envisioned a scenario were I had his attention and cooperation and what I got something much, much different. As Tyson exited the signing, a gaggle of nearly 300 people screaming for his attention followed. My rented lights were trampled, a beauty dish went missing and melee ensued. Tyson's bodyguards were yelling at me and I knew this wasn't what I prepped for. But after some deliberation, I worked my way towards Mike, and found a guy who wanted to go home and didn't want to take any photos. His manager yelled that he had to do one - so what i got was a half smile, half fuck you look. "should I smile, should i frown?" type of thing.
My mantra is to make the best of it -and although i'm not proud of the situation or outcome - it is what it is. At least I got his side with the tattoo, maybe my tune would be different if I didn't get that iconic ink.