JSJ: What are some of your favorite pictures?
TONY: Alright, let’s see, we have the book here. We’ll just kind of flip through…
JSJ: Page one!
IDRIS: The dumpster, the first image is the dumpster shot of Randy and Fenton.
JSJ: So fabulous!
IDRIS: That was fun because like it was the beginning of the work day, and people were coming in to work, and their employers –
JSJ: – were in the garbage.
IDRIS: Their bosses are in the dumpster, in tuxes, and they’re thinking to themselves: What’s going on?
TONY: It was genius.
JSJ: I remember that day.
IDRIS: You were working in the World of Wonder Storefront Gallery at the time.
JSJ: And I didn’t want to do to have my picture taken and I was being all bitchy, remember?
TONY: Right, you demanded a reshoot.
JSJ: I’m such a diva. But I felt fat that day.
TONY: You were one of the first people we shot. And at the time we just walked into every situation blind, not having an idea of what we were going to do, or even who we were shooting.
IDRIS: We were winging it.
TONY: Yeah, totally winging it and thinking that –
IDRIS: – we would just try and feel out their personality and draw from that. So you came with an attitude, so you got a bad picture.
JSJ: HA! That’ll teach me to be bitchy with a photographer. Which wowlebrities were you most surprised or delighted by?
IDRIS: Well, I think we had the most fun with Charro.
IDRIS: I remember we were dancing salsa together on her stage at the Riviera! That was kind of fabulous. It was one of those moments where you step back and look at yourself and think “What am I doing right now?”
TONY: There were a lot of moments like that where I would sit there and think WOW. This is REALLY SOMETHING. Like the day John Waters came to our studio, and the elevator was broken, and he called from the street and said “I’m here!” and I’m thinking, oh my god, I’m so sorry, the elevator is broken TODAY of all days… I’ll come down and help you. But he’s totally cool. He says: “Oh, no, no, that’s okay.” So he comes up to the studio, and he’s a total delight. And I’m just sitting there thinking like, oh my god, John Waters is sitting here in our studio. I’m just constantly reminded how lucky I am.
IDRIS: Dustin Lance Black was the same, too. It was that same kind of feeling when he came.
TONY: Yeah, well, you think here’s this –
IDRIS: Oscar winning writer –
TONY: And he’s here with us, and we’re having the opportunity to get to know him and the honor of taking his picture. It was like that with every single picture. An opportunity and an honor.
JSJ: Any pictures that really surprised you?
IDRIS: I liked the Monica [Lewinsky] pictures. They capture exactly what we envisioned her to be and what we wanted her to be.
TONY: Totally. Completely. And yet I don’t think she was happy with them.
JSJ: I know, I know, what is that?
TONY: Well, I think we’re always ultimately trying to capture the spirit or the essence of the person –
TONY: And sometimes people can be –
IDRIS: People are scared of that.
TONY: They’re disturbed by seeing how beautiful they really are, because they don’t see themselves as beautiful.
JSJ: That’s interesting.
TONY: Maybe Monica felt that way, because cause you can’t deny how beautiful those images are. I think they’re beautiful, and the moment was beautiful, the collaboration was really pure.
IDRIS: And she was so sweet.
TONY: So wonderful.
JSJ: We all love Monica so much at World of Wonder. Another person whose beauty you really brought out, was Thairin. [EVERYBODY LAUGHS]
TONY: That was the same collaboration. We used Billy B for the makeup and Syd for the hair – it was an amazing opportunity, and a really fun atmosphere to create in. We were there to make him look beautiful and I think the resulting pics are amaaaazing.
IDRIS: It’s funny, those are the only two shoots that we had a makeup and hair team for.
JSJ: I know, I’m still bitching about it: Monica and freakin’ Thairin Smothers got Lady Gaga’s make up artist!
TONY: Your image I love because it’s – it’s like a whole set. It’s really I think evokes your life. It’s everything all kind of summed up there in your environment. [LAUGH]
JSJ: It’s what you imagine James St. James doing on any given Saturday afternoon – toddling around his apartment in a fat suit, serving tea to giant rabbit.
TONY: Yeah –
IDRIS: And we thank you. We thank you for letting us have that peak because I know you don’t let a lot of people into your apartment.
JSJ: Well, not many people FIT into my apartment, lol. But you’re right. I don’t have many guests anymore. I used to have every hustler, runaway, and clubkid living in my apartments in New York and I stopped doing that. So you were lucky.