Timothy White
Born: January 5, 1956, in Englewood, New Jersey
New Jersey Hall of Fame, Class of 2018: Arts & Letters

Timothy White is a rare breed: A photographer of celebrities who actually has earned the respect of those whose images he captures.

Growing up in Englewood in the 1960s and ’70s, he decided on photography as the art form that would allow him to pursue an alternative lifestyle and career. He left New Jersey to study photography at the renowned Rhode Island School of Design. After graduation, he opened a studio in New York City. Once he had developed a portfolio of portraits and travel photos, he brought his work to Rolling Stone magazine, where he landed an assignment to photograph Yoko Ono. He was on his way.

Over the years, White has become known for his intimate photos of some of the world’s most intriguing celebrities, including the likes of Whitney Houston, Harrison Ford, Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Brad Pitt, Queen Latifah, Julia Roberts, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. He has shot memorable covers for publications such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Esquire, and Rolling Stone, and iconic movie posters for films from Sony, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Universal. His portraits have also appeared on album covers for musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, and Jay-Z.

Celebrity photography seems to come naturally to White. “I am a people person and know that I have the ability to put people at ease and create a trusting environment. When I realized that the camera allowed me to use my personality to capture a version of others, I found something that fit me perfectly with comfort and ease,” he told fellow photographer David Christopher Lee in an interview.

White has published several books of his work and has won multiple photography honors. American Photo magazine has named him “one of the most influential people in photography.” He also is noted for his pro bono work supporting organizations such as the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, Riverkeeper, EarthShare, City Harvest, and amfAR.

At his induction to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, he explained his view of the work he does with celebrities. “The pictures we make together are a document of pop-culture history, and through our collaborations, fix their image for posterity,” he said. “As much fun as that is, I take that very seriously. That history is important to me. It’s their legacy, it’s also all of ours.”

Intro/Acceptance Video