by: Chris Jordan
Who’s that handsome man in the aviator shades and the John Varvatos jacket?
Why, it’s Willie Nelson, sporting a new look thanks to the eye of Toms River photographer/filmmaker Danny Clinch.
Nelson, 80, and sons Lukas and Micah were photographed and filmed for a John Varvatos ad campaign in Des Moines by Clinch during the summer.
The campaign, called Willie Nelson and Sons, highlights the Varvatos fall and winter line. Full-page ads showing Nelson as photographed by Clinch have appeared this fall in magazines like Vanity Fair and Vogue.
“We went out to Des Moines, and we caught him on the road,” Clinch said. “The tour bus pulled up in front of the location we were shooting at, and there’s an Indian painted on the side of the bus, and the Red Headed Stranger comes out. I think the beauty for me was to capture him with his boys.”
The fashion campaign’s short film, available at johnvarvators.com, is directed by Clinch and features the three Nelsons performing “Still is Still Moving to Me.”
“Willie doesn’t have to do anything he doesn’t want to do, and he loved the idea about him and his family,” Clinch said. “He’s about family and loyalty to the people of his inner circle. When we pitched the idea about his sons, he was pretty psyched.”
Clinch, an acclaimed rock photographer who has worked with numerous celebrities and musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, has done more than a dozen Varvatos campaigns, featuring Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, Jimmy Page and Gary Clark Jr., the Roots, Cheap Trick and more.
Nelson, whose usual fashion attire includes a bandana and denim, also used one of Clinch Varvatos photos for the cover of his new album, “To All the Girls…”
“Willie was really into the photos we took, and he liked the way he looked,” Clinch said.