Celebrity portraiture often requires that the subject be ready for anything. An imaginative photographer like Houston’s Pam Francis will conjure up unusual settings and costumes to best evoke her subject’s true nature, as when she lured oil tycoon Oscar Wyatt and his German shepherd to the roof of a building for a cover shot (“Meaner Than a Junkyard Dog,” April 1991). Some occasions, however, require that the photographer be ready for anything. Witness 43-year-old Francis’ experience with Texas Twenty honoree Bill Hobby. As Francis tells it, Hobby arrived unsuitably dressed for the session and was unhappy about having to change. She and her assistants fetched him some Western wear because she wanted him to “look like an old, historical Texan.” As things got going, Hobby loosened up—so much so that he decided to play a joke on his secretary, who was worried about how the photo would come out. He donned a woman’s wig and put on lipstick, Francis recalls, “and then we took a couple of Polaroids and sent him on his merry way.” But Hobby decided to take the joke a step further: He left the studio in drag so he could shock his secretary back at the office. And he didn’t return the wig until a week later. “We’re not quite sure what he did with it in the interim,” Francis says.
From the September 1997 Issue Subscribe