Poster Perfect: Photos from Saturday Night Live

By

Published May 13, 2010

The John Varvatos shop on Bowery hosted the opening party for Live From New York: A Decade of Portraits of Saturday Night Live, featuring the work of photographer Mary Ellen Matthews, who has shot portraits of the hosts and musical guests for the past decade. Cast members including Kenan Thompson, Kristen Wiig, and Jason Sudeikis  showed up for support. SNL Writer Jim Downey (you may recognize him from his make-out session with Jonah Hill in the “Andy’s Dad” digital short, among other things, explained of Ellen’s work,  “I like that she gets rock ‘n rollers to be goofy, that can’t be the easiest thing to do.”

Matthews has gotten acts like Green Day to ham it up and pose around a poker table, but she’s also found subtlety in the hosts’ humorous moments. When we asked Fred Armisen to pick his favorite shot, he jokingly pointed at an old hologram Spacehog sticker and an Alternative Tenctacles poster from the former CBGB’s space. Then he landed on the portrait of Jack Black rocking out with a Christmas tree like a guitar. “Just look at him!” Armisen said in awe.

And what was the story behind her portrait of the Betty White, the popular host of this past weekend? Explaining the boombox, peace sign flash, and tough facial expression, Matthews said, “I wanted to go for a contrast. I actually wanted to get her behind a set of drums, playing, but the timing didn’t allow that.” We say the shot was just golden.

LIVE FROM NEW YORK IS ON VIEW THROUGH AUGUST. JOHN VARVATORS IS LOCATED AT 315 BOWERY, NEW YORK.