Michael Grecco

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Michael Grecco
Michael Grecco 2009.jpg
Grecco photographed in 2009 by Glenn Francis
Born (1968-05-20) May 20, 1968 (age 51)
EducationBoston University
Known forPhotography

Michael Grecco (born May 20, 1968) is an American photographer, film director and author.


Grecco grew up near New York City and received his first camera (a Mamiya/Sekor 35mm single-lens reflex) when he was 12.[1] He went on to study filmmaking and photography as an undergraduate at Boston University's School of Communications. While still at university he began working freelance for the Associated Press as a photojournalist. During that time, he also began his career as a magazine photographer.[2] This included an extensive body of work for various national magazines, including Time,[3] Newsweek, Esquire, Vanity Fair, Forbes, and Rolling Stone.[4] As a staff photographer for the Boston Herald, he won several Boston Press Photographers awards.[5]

As a regular contributor to People, Grecco made his transition from hard-news photojournalism to photographic coverage of celebrity-driven events, including the Golden Globes, the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards. He used this experience to launch his current career as a celebrity portrait photographer.[6][7] Since 1992, Grecco has been regularly shooting magazine covers for Time, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN, People and others.[8] His celebrity portrait subjects have included Martin Scorsese,[9] Hugh Hefner, Robert Duvall, Lucy Liu, Will Ferrell,[10] Mel Brooks, Christina Applegate, Ben Stiller,[3] Owen Wilson,[3] Penélope Cruz, Jet Li, Bill Murray, Joaquin Phoenix and Rene Russo.

In 2007, Grecco published his book Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry, a collection of photographs on the American porn industry and its stars taken at the AVN Awards and Convention in Las Vegas.[11] A documentary film, directed by Grecco and with the same title, premiered in April 2009.[12] His two previous books were on lighting techniques in photographic portraiture.[2][8]

Grecco is based in Los Angeles, and has three children. He married Elizabeth Waterman, Photographer and CEO of Black + Gold on June 21, 2018.


Grecco received the Hasselblad Masters Award in June 2001.[13] He also received several awards in the 2011 Prix de la Photographie Paris competition including ones for his portraits of Steve Martin and Martin Scorsese and in 2012 was one of the eight recipients of the Professional Photographer Leadership Award from the United Nations International Photographic Council.[14][15]


  • The Art of Portrait Photography, Creative Lighting Techniques and Strategies, 126 pages. Amherst Media (2000). ISBN 0936262850
  • Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait, the Art of Celebrity and Editorial Photography, 192 pages. Amphoto (2006). ISBN 0817442278
  • Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry, 224 pages. Rock Out Books (2007). ISBN 0979331404


  1. ^ Grecco, Michael (January 2007). "Lighting and the Dramatic Portrait". The Digital Journalist. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b Beggy Carol and Shaahan, Mark (12 December 2006). "Grecco shooting for the stars". Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 March 2014 via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  3. ^ a b c Joel Stein, "He's With Him", Time magazine, 2004
  4. ^ Photos, "Donna Summer Through the Years", Rolling Stone magazine, 2012
  5. ^ Santoro, Henry (18 May 2010), "Peep show: Michael Grecco's Naked Ambition". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  6. ^ American Photo (May-June2007), Vol. 18, No. 3, pp. 11 and 19.
  7. ^ Steel, Andy (2009). The World's Top Photographer's Workshops: Celebrity & Performance, pp. 103-108. MBI Publishing. ISBN 0760337675.
  8. ^ a b Miller, Alice B. (January 2007), "Open Book: Like his new best-seller, Michael Grecco is a creative amalgam of the intuitive and the technical.". Studio Photography, Vol 10, No. 1. ISSN 1097-1181. Retrieved online 27 March 2014 via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  9. ^ Richard Schickel, "Martin Scorsese", The 2007 Time 100, 2007
  10. ^ Josh Tyrangiel, "Will Ferrell: Brilliant Idiot", Time magazine, 2007
  11. ^ Blue, Violet (15 November 2007). "One photographer's 'Naked Ambition'". SFGate. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  12. ^ Barker, Andrew (1 May 2009 ). "Review: Naked Ambition: An R Rated Look at an X Rated Industry". Variety.
  13. ^ Fiedler, Kerstin (June 2001). Hasselblad Masters: Michael Grecco Archived March 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Hasselblad.com. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  14. ^ Prix de la Photographie Paris (2011) Exhibition Winners and Honorable Mentions. Retrieved 27 March 2014.
  15. ^ International Photographic Council (28 March 2012). "IPC Announces Leadership Awards". Retrieved 27 March 2014.

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