Allan Warren’s camera captured celebrities and royalty

Allan Warren now contemplates a turn from photography to the theater, writing plays. Photo: The great ballet dance Rudolf Nureyev posed for Allen Warren

FLORIDA, November 26, 2012 — When it comes to high society, Allan Warren really has just about seen it all.

Throughout almost half a century behind the camera, he has taken photos of movie stars like Mae West, singers such as Barbra Streisand, royalty from the United Kingdom to Greece, and almost every other sort of celebrity or personality imaginable.   

Yesterday, he told us about how he went from being an amateur actor to one of the world’s most noted photographers. He also discussed why people find his work to be so appealing, as well as the transition from film to digital photography.

Now, Warren explains whether or not a return to writing for the theatre is in his future, what the greatest challenge of his career has been, if there is a certain atmosphere that he tries to convey through his photography, and much more.  

Joseph F. Cotto: During the 1990s, you became a playwright. Are you planning on a return to writing for the theatre?

Allan Warren: I do enjoy writing very much and have just finished my latest little tome “Nein Camp.” Since writing “The Lady of Phillimore Walk,” I have also written a play entitled “The Cleaner,” which hopefully one day might also be exposed to the limelight on a stage.

Cotto: What has been the greatest challenge of your career?

Warren: Getting my priorities right, having had more often than not a dilettante attitude toward photography, where a good lunch had taken priority over a photographic session, resulting in having stood up the likes of Groucho Marx, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, W.H. Auden, and Mary Pickford. The lunches are well forgotten, but I am sure the photographs that would have resulted would not have been.

Cotto: From your standpoint, what is the best reward of being a photographer? 

Warren: Independence and never having to leave one’s home to earn a living.

Cotto: Generally speaking, is there a certain atmosphere that you try to convey through your photography?

Warren: Honesty. Someone looking into a camera just as themselves, without any fancy lighting or a plethora of assistants scurrying about to do it all for you.

Cotto: Now that our discussion is at its end, do you have any advice for the aspiring photographers who might be reading this?

Warren: For young photographers now to earn a living — unless they want to be paparazzi — they have to hone their skills to be able to become technical and so be able to go into an area where there is a good living such as advertising, whether it be cars or food. And of course there is fashion.

I think the age of portrait photographers, earning a living from photographing people, is over. The other day a friend of mine snapped a portrait of an actor with an iPhone and it was by far a better picture than I could have take with all my so-called professional camera and lights.

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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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