Caan Artist

With a New Book Out, Scott Caan Is Hollywood's Latest Multi-hyphenate

By Cory Ohlendorf of Valet.
Published on June 15, 2009

You probably best know Scott Caan from his roles as Turk Mallow in the "Ocean's 11" trilogy. You may know that he's the son of the legendary actor James Caan.Caan and Brett Ranter at the book's launch. (LIFE) But what you likely don't know is that he's also an accomplished photographer. His new book, Scott Caan Photographs, Vol. 1, is a collection of his work which began in 2003, when he was directing his first film. The shots have been praised for their subtle, voyeuristic feel—moments captured with photojournalistic insight—opposed to the usual artful frames of puddles. Of course, he did snap Lindsay Lohan lying in the grass. But who could pass that up?


Scott Caan Photographs, Vol. 1, $60

QuestionHow did the book come about?

AnswerI guess I'd always thought it would be cool to do a book, but it was Howard Nourmand, the editor of the book, who approached me. When we started, it was going to be a scrap book with photos, stills from films I've directed, scripts pages, personal notes, that sort of thing. But as we were working on it, we realized the photos were just more interesting.

What strikes you to snap a picture?
Honestly, I used to think photography was kind of silly. I thought it was all about being in the right place and right time. And especially for what I do, that plays into it. I don't spend time on lighting and arranging things. For me, what makes me want to take a photo is that moment, I see it mentally in a frame and then I take a picture. It's about what you want to capture and what you want keep out.


The most memorable photo in the book?
Probably the paparazzi photo from Cannes. I'm with some of the biggest movie stars on the planet, on this massive red carpet. I got a bunch of great images of Clooney and the rest the "Oceans" gang and I turned around and saw 2,000 photographers all staring up at me. I had one frame left on that roll and that was it.


First camera?
A Nikon FE from the early 70s. It was my dad's [James Caan]. He used to shoot photos all the time, and when I started getting into directing, he gave me his old camera for my birthday. That's how it all sort of began.

Has your experience as a photographer changed how you work in front or behind a camera on set?
It changed my perspective about directing a hundred percent. My thought was always to deal with the actors and find a great D.P., but now I'm equally obsessive about how the shot looks. It made me whole as a director. And as far as having my photo taken, I like it less now, but I have more patience for the person behind the camera.

For me, what makes me want to take a photo is that moment, I see it mentally in a frame and then I take a picture.

Film or digital?
I've never owned a digital—and I'll just say it—I never will. It's not that it's lame or anything, but for me, I love the anticipation. Wondering what's on the roll. Digital is great for a lot of photographers' needs, it's not the way I shoot. It doesn't feel natural.

What do you shoot this with now?
I've always got a camera with me. Usually it's in my glovebox or slung around my shoulder and it's usually that old Nikon FE. I've got an M6 I shoot with sometimes too, but I don't groove with it as much.

This is Volume 1. Does that mean you're currently gathering material for Volume 2?
Oh definitely. There was so much that we had to edit down for this one we've already got a good start.

  • Caan worked as a roadie for both Cypress Hill and House of Pain.


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