When photographer Steve Schapiro first arrived on the Lower East Side set of "The Godfather" in 1971, there were rumors floating around that Marlon Brando was not well. Moving closer to the action, he noticed an old man in an overcoat and hat talking to an assistant director with this gravelly, sick voice. The rumors must be true, he thought.
"Suddenly," Schapiro recalled, "Brando turns to the crowd with this enormous electricity shooting out of his eyes and in his best 'On the Waterfront' accent said, 'I think there's someone with a camera out there.'" That stunning transformation was just one of many Oscar-worthy moments Schapiro has witnessed in his 50-year career working on the sets of such groundbreaking films as "Taxi Driver," "Midnight Cowboy" and "Chinatown."
In "Steve Schapiro: Then and Now" (Hatje Cantz) the 78-year-old pairs candid photos and portraits of Hollywood celebrities alongside artists, musicians, civil rights activists and everyday people taken from the 1960s through 2011.
"I see a lot of celebrity books that don't excite me because they're just portraits," said Schapiro on a call from his Chicago studio. "We wanted to bring pictures together that work against each other or with each other by interjecting things which weren't necessarily film-related." For example, Jane Fonda clad in aerobics attire at the height of her fitness craze juxtaposed next to sumo wrestlers in Chicago in 2010 or Dustin Hoffman in a midair jump placed next to Roman Polanski in a flying-nun pose from 1968.