HOPING HE'S DIFFERENT: Photographer Russell James might be the star of an upcoming reality TV show — a VH1 series premiering Sunday called "The Shot" in which he judges other snappers — but he harbors no illusions about the genre. "VH1 shows have been train wrecks," he said of notorious shows like "Flavor of Love" and "The Surreal Life." "It can be a career-wrecker. But the way VH1 presented this one, they wanted it to be real and credible, not just star-driven."
Thursday night found the Australian native celebrating "Gorgeous," his photography show at New York's Milk Studios, where his portraits of Scarlett Johansson, Halle Berry, Mary J. Blige and Gisele Bündchen were on display. A veteran of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issues, James was highly critical of Beyoncé's recent cover for that publication and the celebrity cover trend in general. "I miss the supermodel. Celebrities are different; they need a lot of direction," he said. "Surprisingly, they are quite uncomfortable in front of the camera. Scarlett Johansson acts in her photographs as opposed to modeling for you."
He has even shot his reality show compatriot Tyra Banks for her SI cover (his show is produced by Ken Mok, an executive producer of Banks' show "America's Next Top Model"). But when he went on her show to commemorate the 10th anniversary of that cover, he got a surprise. "Tyra told me she was horrified by the outcome and that the Polaroids were the worst she'd ever seen. She said she called her agent, in fact," he recalled. "But she ended up loving the photographs." — Jacinta Green
NEW APPOINTMENTS: American Express Publishing appointed two new publishers to its largest magazines, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine. J.P. Kyrillos was moved to Travel + Leisure as vice president publisher after serving at Food & Wine in the same position. He succeeds Julie McGowan, who left the magazine in October after 12 years at Amex Publishing, most of the time at Food & Wine. Christina Grdovic Baltz was named publisher of Food & Wine from vice president, associate publisher.