|Harry Connick Jr. 23 October 1990|
Guest Blog : Dave Chesney- Editor White Rock Sun
Wednesday August 16, 2023
My phone rang last night and I was happy to see Alex’s name pop up on the screen. He informed me he felt compelled to call me to relate what a big hit the D.O.A. shirt I gave him was at the fifth Annual Memorial Get Together for randy Rampage Mountain View Cemetery.
I was a huge fan of Alex long before I ever met him. I have a number of his photos adorning my humble abode’s walls. Dennis Hopper, Leonard Cohen, my wedding photos Alex took so gracefully offered to take. "Really," you say. Nobody gets Alex to take wedding photos. I did.
|Dave got married to Laurie|
The other cherished Alex photo I have is of Harry Connick JR. I had the pleasure of working with Harry a number of times during my tenure as the Westcoast Under Assistant Promo Man for CBS Records.
The Sony Corporation bought CBS Records worldwide in 1987. Shortly after the acquisition I received a call in my Vancouver office from a representative from Sony Japan who was on tour with Harry Connick Jr. The SONY rep had a large number of press in tow to travel and tour with Harry Connick JR. in order to facilitate numerous reviews and interview sessions for large Japanese media outlets. The lady from Japan introduced herself on the phone and explained they had lost their photographer who had to fly back to Japan and could I possibly recommend a local photographer. I informed her I had just the right person for her. His name is Alex Waterhouse -Hayward. I quickly ran through Alex’s CV from memory and she seemed very pleased. The entourage would arrive in Vancouver in three days. I was asked if it would it be possible for her to meet Alex and me prior to the press day, at the downtown hotel where they were all staying. I checked with Alex and it was agreed we would meet the night before.
I arrived at the hotel slightly before Alex to afford myself time for a personal introduction. Everything was going fin until I turned and saw Alex coming through the hotel front doors. I said “Oh here is Alex now.” Dead silence. The lady from Japan said “Oh Dave this is a problem. Alex is not Japanese. I have to have a Japanese photographer.” I thought, gee didn’t the name give you some indication Alex was not Japanese?
In order to appease Alex and me, the Japan lady agreed to pay Alex in full for nothing. And she asked me what she could do for me? I explained to her I would like to speak to Harry and carve out some time before the press day started. I explained Alex was doing a series called hotel suite where he photographed artists in hotel suites. She was more than happy.
I spoke with Harry the next morning when he started his day. I explained to him what I would like him to do and he said “No problem Dave, whatever you want.” By this time Alex had arrived at the hotel with all his equipment, cameras, flash lights umbrellas and whatever else he felt he might need.
As Alex set up in a spare hotel room I went to find Harry. He had a big of stubble and was dressed very casual in a v-neck cashmere sweater, his hair was slightly tussled. We talked as we walked to where Alex was set up. Harry sat down and began to marvel at the elaborate lighting system Alex had set up. Small chit chat incurred between Harry and Alex, Harry understandably was somewhat reserved not really sure of what was going on.
As Alex and Harry were making small talk while Alex adjusted the lighting, Alex said to Harry, "Would you ever record my favourite jazz standard, Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life?" Connick answered, "That's a woman's song. I don't think I'll tackle it."
I was blown away how instantly Harry relaxed and smiled and began to talk to Alex on a completely different level than before. He was in the presence of someone who knew and cared. At that very moment Alex started snapping photos. The entire session may have taken 10 minutes.
EDITORS NOTE. Back in those days there were a number of popular photo magazines on the newstands. The main one if I remember correctly was simply called American Photo. Alex submitted the Harry Jr. photo and if my memory serves me correct it was voted as one of the top photos of the year.
I am proud to say I went from being a fan to being a friend of Alex Waterhouse-Hayward.