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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 12/22/2006

He Oughta Be in Pictures

By Liz Kelly

Noah K. with Paris Hilton. (Photo courtesy Noah Kalina)

If you watched VH1's "Big in '06" awards show earlier this month, you might have noticed the random photos of stars leading into and out of commercial breaks. From Paris Hilton to Flavor Flav to Danny Bonaduce, they all had one thing in common: Noah Kalina. Who is Noah Kalina? He's the mastermind behind the Web site Noah K. Everyday -- a six-year (so far) archive of self-portraits -- and the viral video hit based on the project. VH1 asked Kalina to slightly modify his project for the awards show and the result is now compiled on Kalina's flickr stream.

Yesterday, Kalina and I e-mailed about what it's like being an Internet sensation, which stars played nice and why Will.i.am was kind of annoying:

Liz: Although you're probably sick of it, can you briefly describe the premise behind Noah K. Everyday?

Noah Kalina: I have been taking a photograph of myself every day since January 2000. It was originally just a photo project but about five months ago I saw a project done by a woman name Ahree Lee where she had taken a photo of herself every day for three years. It inspired me to do the same, so I put my photos together into a time-lapse and put it on YouTube. Within three weeks it became somewhat of an international internet sensation.

Liz: The flickr pix with celebrities -- how did you get them to pose with you? Were the pictures snapped over time or all at one event?

NK: That project was done backstage at the VH1 Big in '06 awards.

(more after the jump...)

I got a call from one of the producers of the show and they invited me to come out to Los Angeles and do this project backstage. A little hesitant, I asked if any of the celebrities would even know who I was. They assured me that my video was so big and such a huge part of popular culture everyone would know who I was. Of course that was not the case.

The concept was pretty straightforward. I would basically take my photo in the same fashion that I have done my everyday project, just with the celebrities in the frame. All of the photos would run as a time-lapse during the credits. I even sent them photos of my bedroom which they put as the background. I had a lot of creative control as to how it was to go down, so I was satisfied.

If you watch the show you basically see me between every commercial break, and then they run about eight seconds of the project at the end.

The funny thing is that they never explain it or even make mention of it during the show. If you never saw my video you would probably be scratching your head wondering who the hell I am. I think that was the best part.

Liz: How did you convince them to pose with you or were they already familiar with the phenomenon that is Noah K.?

NK: I just sat there while the producers wrangled all of the celebrities once they got off stage. It was funny hearing the producers trying to explain the project to the different celebrities. They should have had a TV playing my video so they could see what it was all about, but instead they had a black and white printout the front page of my everyday Web site. It was impossible to get the idea of who I was just by looking at this piece of paper. I wouldn't have even understood what they were talking about.

Just about everybody was a good sport since it was actually a legitimate part of the show. I only witnessed two stars decline the offer. They were Dominic Monaghan and Megan Mullally. The former was a disappointment because I am a big fan of "Lost," the latter, well, no big deal...

The only celebs that were actually familiar with the phenomenon that is Noah K were Weird Al Yankovic and Paris Hilton. How perfect is that?

Liz: Who was your favorite subject?

NK: I would have to say the Hulk Hogan and family. I think it's one of the best photos and they were all really nice people. It's too bad mom got cut out of the shot. After we took our shots, The Hulkster asked me "What made you start to do this project" And I said, "I don't know, I just thought it was a good idea." (That is my short answer, when I don't have a lot of time to get into it.) The Hulk shook his head and said, "It was a good idea... I think I am going to start doing that."

Liz: Any interesting stories/anecdotes from the photo shoot?

NK: After I did the photos with Fergie and Will.i.am, Fergie turned to me and started asking me questions about my project. She seemed genuinely interested which I thought was really cool, most of the other stars immediately walked away after we were done. But there is Will.i.am stepping over my answers not letting me speak. Apparently he just wanted to hear his own voice. So Fergie ends up walking away, and Will stood next to me and started talking to me for about five minutes about how we gotta "tax" the man and that YouTube is stealing all our money. I tried to explain to him that it was never about the money, but he wasn't buying it. He just kept saying "We gotta tax the man." I just shook my head and agreed. He finally had to go do something and let me alone.


Noah K. with David Hasselhoff. (Photo courtesy Noah Kalina)

Liz: Was it difficult to keep your trademark catatonic look in the pictures with the celebrities? I'd imagine it'd be a little more distracting than your normal solo self-portraits.

NK: I don't know if I would call it a catatonic look, I just consider it a blank emotionless stare. It really wasn't that difficult. I was really focused on what I was trying to do so I was able to block out all the distractions.

Liz: What is David Hasselhoff doing to you in the photo?

NK: I would like to think that he is calling KITT to come pick us up.

Liz: What's your day job?

NK: I am an artist and freelance photographer. I do a variety of work from portraits to landscapes to interiors. My work is often seen on Web sites and magazines. You can check out more of my work at www.noahkalina.com and www.interiors.noahkalina.com.

By Liz Kelly  | December 22, 2006; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Extreme Fans, Miscellaneous  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Morning Mix: Judge Orders Paternity Test for Anna Nicole's Baby
Next: Happy Holidays

Comments

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Posted by: handle | December 22, 2006 1:04 PM | Report abuse

anyone think its interesting how the celebs need to make some crazy face: its like they need to be the center of attention. (duh)

Posted by: adam | December 22, 2006 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Some of those pix w/celebs look Photoshopped though I know they aren't.

I wonder if anyone has told Noah he looks like the offspring of Snow Miser & Heat Miser? And I mean that in a good way.

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hoax

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The reason the photos look photshopped is because there is even light on the subject and a separate light source on the greenscreen so pulling the key would be easier.

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