Angelina Jolie fixes the camera with a piercing emerald gaze
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Jack Nicholson leaves his trademark grin at home to show a more vulnerable side

15 JULY 2005

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Celebrity photographer Martin Schoeller has invited the public to get up close and personal with their favourite stars. The renowned snapper has published a new book of portraits showing big names like Angelina Jolie and Jack Nicholson as they have never been seen before.

Martin's technique, which is aimed at stripping away the mystique that surrounds his A-list friends, consists of taking a sharply-focused close-up of his subject's unsmiling face. The result is a series of very honest and unforgiving portraits that show their more human side.

"I like to strip away all those extras and get to what is simple and honest in these subjects' personality," he explains. "Honestly, I don't think many of them were aware of what the shots would finally look like. I'm not so sure they would have agreed to this if they had known just how revealing it would be."

Oscar-winner Jack Nicholson looks distinctly world-weary in his picture and former US president Bill Clinton seems more like a kind uncle than an international statesman. Another photo shows R&B star Usher with an air of urban attitude while Angelina Jolie's emerald eyes become the focus of her portrait.

The new book, entitled Close Up, consists of 75 images he has taken over the past seven years. Among the other stars featured in its pages are Sting, Britney Spears, Prince, Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. "My point is that when you strip away the fame and just see them as a person, then most celebrities are just as regular as a woman from the street," says the lensman.

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