Joe Pugliese Finds a Creative Partner in Angelia Jolie
Angelia Jolie is one of the most photographed faces in the world. Her career, and the world’s fascination with her, has extended beyond presidents and pop sensations. For decades, the lenses of photographers have been focused squarely on her every move. We know her every angle, her every mood, and have played witness to nearly every phase she’s gone through professionally and personally. When Joe Pugliese was assigned to shoot her for The Hollywood Reporter, he knew he was casting his lot into a deep pool. “We always want to go into it really fresh without too much reference to all the imagery we’ve seen,” Joe explains. Not to mention that this was for a cover of THR’s “Rule Breakers” issue. He had to go in a different direction.
Part of what makes Jolie appropriate for this issue of THR is not just that she’s rid herself of almost her entire professional team, but she’s now shaking off her image as an actress for her upcoming film, Unbroken, that she directed. “I immediately could see the qualities that make her a director,” Joe says about his subject. “She’s extremely focused, she’s totally professional. She wanted to know the game plan, she wanted to know what we were doing. I just ran the things I wanted to do by her.” After Joe laid out his vision, Jolie gave her feedback, and they worked off each other for the rest of the shoot.
Gossip about Jolie is rampant and uncontrollable, so she’s understandably protective of her image. But Joe’s artistic vision had a space in that room with Jolie. “Every picture that you want to take will have been done before, it will feel like that,” Joe explains. “We’re in the studio so there’s no sense of place, there’s no sense of environment. It’s really about her, so I wanted to key in on expression, intensity, grace. The qualities that make her that icon.” For the cover, they stuck with Jolie’s unadorned, unimpeded strength and grace. But between the two artists, it was an easy get for them. So, Joe went a little more experimental. Playing with mirrors, and different kinds of broken and textured glass, they were able to work together with the concepts to find some extra depth.
That sense of play and collaboration requires creative agility that can be hard to come by for professionals who have had as long and powerful a career as Jolie’s. But Joe found that they were able to meet each other on even ground. “She was game, but she was also very confident in what worked and what didn’t,” Joe explains. “She came with her own direction, but played off my direction as well.” Together, they were able to arrive at a vision that showed off not just where Jolie has been, but where she’s going.