Playboy Photographer Stephen Wayda Has Dream Job - page 3

By Jessamyn Cuneo on March 31, 2007

Jack Nicholson, pictures, picture, photos, photo, pics, pic, images, image, Stephen Wayda"There were plenty of people who didn't think I'd go very far, when I first started at Playboy," Wayda says. "There was a note from an associate photo editor of Playboy that said it was too bad I didn't have the talent to match my opportunity."

Wayda tore on ahead, not giving anyone's opinion too much credit. He was on a mission, and that mission was to get to a point where he could be confident in his abilities as well as consistent on the job. He found ways to make himself indispensable, providing what unique contributions he could, for the magazine.

"Eventually, I found a couple of Utah girls that Playboy accepted," Wayda recalls. "I traded them, in the sense that Ken Marcus, one of the main photographers at the time, took one of the girls to photograph for the centerfold. I watched how he did it, and then I got to shoot the other girl."

"Both girls got published," he continues, leaning back with a smile, "And I got my first centerfold with a Utah girl."

From then on, Wayda was increasingly assigned projects. For 18 years, he commuted back and forth from Utah to Los Angeles. He was passionate about his life in the mountains, and trying very hard to maintain both separate, extremely different lives. However, this proved to become impossible when his daughter was born.

Wayda moved to Los Angeles with his wife and daughter, trading the obsession with skiing for horses. He also began to shoot for different clients, now that he was full-time in Hollywood, and expanded his subjects to celebrities.

"You know, the thing that I've found is that most people say that celebrities are just terrible to work with, and they're not. They've always been wonderful," Wayda says.

He has worked with actors and actresses, such as Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore. The celebrity he's shot the most — by far — is Pamela Anderson. The two have developed an interesting relationship over the years of working together.

"Pamela's just fun," Wayda says, smiling. "It's always fun to take her picture. She's always on; she's always bigger than life; she's Stephen Wayda; copyright Scott Curtisalways reinventing herself."

"We've gone through her beach phase, her femme fatale phase, to Europe, to the glam look, the rocker, to stuff at her house with her kids, with her washing the dog. If there's a picture of Pam, I've pretty much done it," Wayda continues.

With all this time spent together, the two have almost gotten to the point where it's hard to come up with new materials and ideas for her shoots.

Over the years, he's still had to learn plenty other than how to shoot Anderson in different ways. The challenges of photography never subside. It's a constantly evolving art that relies on so many different things coming together perfectly for a single, frozen moment.