As we release our Year in Focus e-book highlighting the best photography from 2014, we ask our experts across the business for their personal selection from the year.

Getty Images Directors of Photography for Entertainment, Karl Walter (West Coast) and Parky Lee (East Coast) have each chosen their top five standout images from 2014 and the reasons why.

Karl Walter, Director of Photography, West Coast

Caption: Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the World Premiere of Disney’s ‘Maleficent’, starring Angelina Jolie, at the El Capitan Theatre on May 28, 2014 in Hollywood, California.

The photographer, Jason Kempin, was wise enough to know that he didn’t need to follow Angela Jolie while she was on the red carpet. We had a team of photographers capturing the Maleficent premiere, which freed Jason to capture this unique photo – Brad Pitt, at his coolest.  Brad’s not looking for attention from the rest of the photographers, choosing to defer to his wife and the film she is starring in. But he just can’t help look suave, even when combing his moustache.  Jason was there to catch him at his most debonair.

Caption: Rapper Jay Z and singer Beyonce with daughter Blue Ivy Carter onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.

When I saw this moment happening during the 2014 MTV VMAs, I immediately ran to photographer Kevin Winter and asked if he nailed the photo – even though I knew the answer already. This is Kevin Winter we’re talking about!  He turned to the back of his camera to show me what he had shot, and I knew then that this image was going to run.  A lot.  Inevitably, the picture was featured prominently in many of the weekly magazines because he captured a sweet, tender and authentic photograph of pop music’s royal family.  I’m certain the photo will enjoy a long archival life – Kevin was the only photographer to capture this moment from this angle as an exclusive house photographer.

Caption: Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 18, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Jennifer Lawrence has been widely popular the past few years. She has won Oscars, SAGs, Golden Globes, Independent Spirits, and many, many more awards, but she hasn’t let it go to her head. This photo perfectly captures that playful, free spirit that makes her unique in Hollywood. She is not afraid to make an unflattering face or flip the bird for the cameras, making her all the more appealing and unpredictable as a photographic subject. She’s seen here backstage, signing for her Screen Actors Guild Award, shot by Kevin Winter.

Caption: Actors Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, winners of Outstanding Drama Series for ‘Breaking Bad’, pose during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theater on August 25, 2014.

This image perfectly captures the excitement and comradery that these two actors have shared over many years together, filming the smash hit ‘Breaking Bad.’ It marks their last Emmy win for the show, but they are obviously savoring it. Here they are photographed backstage at the Emmy Awards, shot by Christopher Polk.

Caption: Actress, multi-platinum recording artist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Selena Gomez inspires 20,000 students at We Day at Rogers Arena on Wednesday October 22, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

This picture has so much pop and excitement; it just jumped right off of the screen when I first saw it. I love so many things about the photo: the fan’s reactions, Selena’s colorful style and its contrast against the blue arena lights and the great access photographer Jeff Vinnick enjoyed. It has all the makings of the best kind of entertainment photograph; an image that captures the excitement and passion celebrities inspire amongst their fans, with standout fashion to boot.

About Karl
Karl Walter is a 13 year veteran of Getty Images. He has been published in People, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, the NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, and many, many more.


Parky Lee, Director of Photography, East Coast

Caption: Stephen Colbert visits ‘The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’ at Rockefeller Center on February 17, 2014 in New York City.

Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert are the newest heirs of late night television royalty. In 2014, Fallon took over the honored interview desk of ‘The Tonight Show,’ the longest-running talk show in history. For me, he is this generation’s Johnny Carson, the all-American boy next door who makes everyone feel welcomed. It was also announced that Colbert would take over hosting duties after ‘Late Show’ host David Letterman retires in 2015. This fun photo captures a much-hyped ‘celebrity selfie,’ which really exploded in the media since the 2014 Oscar host Ellen Lee DeGeneres and a group of Hollywood’s A-listers took the most popular celebrity selfie of all time. Has this trend run its course and received too much attention? I think Fallon’s expression says it all. As a result of our strong partnership with NBC, staff photographer Theo Wargo has been shooting regularly and exclusively on the intimate set of ‘The Tonight Show’ after its return home to New York City.

Caption: Vogue Magazine editor-in-chief Anna Wintour enters the Vera Wang fashion show on day six of New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 on September 9, 2014 in New York City.

Anna Wintour is just like the rest of us. She rises early, puts on the latest designer dress, and gives her name to the Starbucks barista for a morning beverage on the go. I had recruited accomplished Street Style photographer Melodie Jeng to join Getty Images this year. She shot Vogue magazine’s editor-in-chief racing between fashion shows. Behind her signature sunglasses the expression is always focused and all-business, but the detail of her name hand-written on a cup lends this image a relatable and humorous twist.


Caption: Comedian Joan Rivers is photographed at the Plaza Athenee on August 15, 2014 in New York City where she officiated the gay wedding of Joseph Aiello and William ‘Jed’ Ryan.

I had been trying to secure a portrait session with Joan Rivers for a couple of years, but her publicist always politely declined my request. Rivers had a favorite, personal photographer who did all of her photo shoots. This summer Getty Images was invited to be the exclusive photographer at a gay wedding officiated by Rivers. Staff photographer Michael Loccisano was successfully able to isolate Rivers against a rich gold curtain at the Plaza Athenee to create this quick portrait after the ceremony. Less than three weeks later, Rivers passed away due to complications during surgery. This we believe, was her final photo for the media. The background and lighting complement Rivers’ hair, jewelry, jacket decoration and glass of Champagne. The always fashionable television personality gives a jolt of unexpected color with her light blue nail polish. I remember watching Rivers guest-host ‘The Tonight Show’ when I was a kid and thinking to myself “Who is this fabulously dressed, outrageously bawdy comedienne?” It was a dream come true to work with Joan Rivers and her team, and bittersweet putting together what would later turn out to be her final public photos.

Caption: Singer Chris Brown attends the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California.

Saint or sinner? Everyone has their opinion on Chris Brown. Chief photographer Larry Busacca captured Brown arriving at this year’s MTV VMA near Los Angeles. He chose an angle and framing that placed MTV’s logo art behind Brown’s head and made it appear to be a radiant halo. To my eye, Brown’s soft expression, his golden accessories, the legions of fans compressed high up in the stands and the graphic background all work together to give this red carpet image the look and feel of modern-day devotional Byzantine mosaic.

Caption: A model walks the runway at the Minimale Animale fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim 2015 at The Raleigh on July 21, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida.

This is a great example of Alternate Views, which have become very popular amongst our Entertainment clients. Staff photographer Neilson Barnard manipulated his camera settings to achieve this multiple exposure of models on the runway. I am intrigued by how their bodies blend and their swimsuits seem to morph from white to black and get noticeably smaller. The overall affect recalls the stop-motion photography of Eadweard Muybridge’s Zoopraxiscope and even the Cubist painting ‘Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2’ by Marcel Duchamp from 1912.

About Parky 
Parky Lee, Director of Photography for East Coast USA Entertainment, has been with Getty Images since 2007. He arrived as part of the MediaVast integration, where he had been Director of Production for WireImage and FilmMagic globally for five years. Prior to the agency side of the business, Parky worked for photographer Arnold Newman as his first assistant and darkroom printer. He is a graduate of Vassar College with a double major in Art History and Drama.

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