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June 6, 2022

Portrait Photos of Celebrities Taken by William Coupon

Born 1952 in New York City, American photographer William Coupon moved to Washington, D.C. and later to San Francisco. He attended Syracuse University and ultimately moved to New York City to begin his photographic career.

Celebrities photographed by William Coupon

Coupon began in 1979 to photograph backdrop portraits of New York’s youth culture, to document its “New Wave/Punk” scene at the then popular Mudd Club in lower Manhattan. Commercial work soon followed for a variety of international magazines, record companies and advertising agencies. He continued to photograph portraits, often of various sub-cultures and indigenous peoples in the 1980s and early 1990s including Haitians, Florida State Prison inmates, Australian Aboriginals, Drag Queens, Alaska Natives, Scandinavian Laplanders, Turkish Kurds, Israeli Druze, the traditional Dutch, Moroccan Berbers, New Guinea tribesmen, Brazilian Caraja, Malaysian Penan, Native Americans, and the Mexican Lacandon, Huichol, Mennonite and Tarahumara. These were titled his “Social Studies” series.

The portrait style is up-close and painterly, with very warm earth tones against a mottled canvas. The style is usually medium-shot and classically lit using medium format cameras. Some of his most notable images are of the Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton which were “Person of the Year” covers for Time magazine, Yasser Arafat, George Harrison, Willy DeVille, Mick Jagger, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miles Davis.

These photos are part of his work that William Coupon took portraits of celebrities from between the 1970s and 1990s.

Colette (Victorian Punk), 1978

David Byrne, 1978

Steve Mass, the owner of the Mudd Club, 1978

Klaus Nomi, 1979

President Gerald Ford, 1980

President Jimmy Carter, 1980

Debbie Harry, 1981

William Burroughs, 1981

Shirley Chisholm, 1982

Mick Jagger, 1983

President Ronald Reagan, 1984

Donald Trump, businessman, 1985

Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1986

Miles Davis, 1986

George Harrison, 1987

Miriam Makeba, 1987

Isaac Hayes, 1988

Neil Young, 1988

Yasser Arafat, 1988

Keith Haring, 1989

Linda Ronstadt, 1989

Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, 1989

President George H. W. Bush, 1990

President Richard Nixon, 1990

Muhammad Ali, 1991

President Bill Clinton, 1996

(Photo © William Coupon)


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