Phil Ceccola

Phil Ceccola's interview originally appeared on www.ricktopia.com in the year 2000. It is our honor and priveledge to reprint it here after his untimely death on 7/13/2003.

We would like to introduce to you Phil Ceccola. The official photographer of the Karma Tour. A very nice guy who takes an awesome photograph. If you have visited Rick Springfield's Official Website you have seen his work. He is willing to answer any questions regarding photography. He will be more than willing to field questions about photography but stresses that he honors Rick's privacy and will ignore any questions about Rick.

We give you Phil Ceccola...

What do you do for fun when you aren't working?

If you call having my idols and famous rock stars posing for me working... Well I play a lot of pinball. In 1989 I was ranked third in the U.S. -- I'm planning a comeback.

What is your favorite city that you have visited (on this tour or anytime)?

Nashville for the tour so far - It has Itchycoo Park nearby... But I love New York anytime.

What is an average work day like for Phil?

Don't see much of Rick 'til 20 minutes before he's due to go on. Prior to the show I spend two hours preparing my cameras and filters and lining them up on stage. And I drink lots of diet colas to start pumping me up.

What is your favorite kind of music?  Artist(s)?

Pop music period. Anything with handclaps. T-Rex, Sparks, Kinks and Rick.

How long have you been working in the music industry?

Started in 1966 at a Steel Pier concert in Atlantic City when I was 12. The Temptations were fun to photograph. My second phase was more serious in 1972, starting with Cat Stevens. Then this weird guy with no place to stay started hanging around my area and stayed at my apartment a few times...you may have heard of him...Bruce Springsteen?

How did you come to be a part of the Karma tour?

Rick, Jack and Barb kind of pooled together and convinced me they liked my work (unfortunately, very little seen because Rick prefers it that way). When I saw on my caller ID that the call was coming from Springthorpe, I thought it was a prank call. Apparently, it wasn't and Rick's put up with me since.

What is the best/worst thing about your job?

Best thing: Seeing Rick come up with all kinds of new moves. Of all the performers I deal with, Rick still surprises me time and time again. Worst thing: Seeing a show end when I know he could do another encore and blow people away.

What is the most interesting event/thing you have witnessed on this tour?

The fire marshal in AC wanting to shut down the show and Rick having the band "sit down" since the audience had to as well.

Professionally, what has been your greatest challenge?

Recently: trying to get the perfect Rick/roses shot - in such a way that it showed a wild splay of petals and Rick blurred a bit to show the movement. I also wanted to have the right angle and show some of the audience. If all works according to plans, you'll see the result on the new CD cover.

What was the last CD you bought?

I get most of my CD's for free because all my friends grew up to be CEOs of record companies. I did have to by the new Heaven 17 CD though.

What was your first impression of Rick?

First impression 1981 - cute, but I preferred synth pop back then; tho I loved Rick's LPs. Second 1999 impression: I was amazed that he had progressed to a level I haven't seen. Most stars don't age so gracefully and still rock.

What other artists have you photographed?

Everybody - there are thousands - I've leveled off the past few years, preferring to work with my faves. I still go to concerts every week though.

Are there any unique challenges about photographing Rick?

Rick is too damn fast and unpredictable. I'm waiting for an overhead catwalk one of these days.

In one or two words, describe each member of the touring band.

Dave: Rick's secret weapon
Jack: Trooper
Derek: Do anything
Matt: Tour Pro

What kind of photography equipment do you use?

Maxxum Minoltas - they are the only camera that have built in computers that help me program the shots in unique ways. Nikons are nice, but Maxxums give me the edge that Nikons just can't. Filters are Cokins and Tiffens. They are my secret weapons. For upcoming shows I will be using colored filters on my flash units and putting slave units on stage. I have noticed the fans get great shots with all kinds of film. If you use flash, anything is great. But if you want to capture action without the fakeness of flash, then for color I use Kodak 1000, Fuji 1600 or Konica 3200. For black and white, I swear by Ilford XPII, and Kodak T Max 3200. Jack loves the T Max 3200 too.

Who have been your favorite entertainers?

Rock or music - Ani DiFranco and Tonio K Celebrity - Kate Moss and Parker Posey.

Where do you see yourself in the next 10 - 20 years?

My health was destroyed in the 70's because of diabetes, so assuming all goes well, I'll be doing just what I'm doing now.

If you could choose any "other" career than the one you have now, what would it be?

Pinball mechanic. I'm still good at it, and some companies call me in when they're desperate. I've designed several pinballs, but they never made it out of the alpha stage.

Anything you'd like to add?

I don't consider myself Rick's photographer-all his fans are Rick's photographers, and he has the best in the world, because they are lovingly crafted, and Rick sincerely enjoys getting copies. What do you think he looks at on the 6 hour ride home?

Any inside information?

People ask me what to get Rick as presents and that's easy. Boxes of Sharpies, especially the signature series as they are hard to get; Scooby snacks-that dog can eat; and books on spirituality...you might influence a future song!


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