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Patrick McMullan: Kiss and Tell

It’s the most sensual thing in the world to most people. A kiss…the first kiss…a kiss hello…even a tearful kiss goodbye. Heck, any kiss. Celebrity photographer Patrick McMullan has captured all of these in his latest kiss and tell celebrity book, Kiss Kiss (PMc Publishing). It’s a look at couples of all kinds expressing their love in what is most likely the sexiest public display of affection.

Lance Avery Morgan: OK, Patrick, I actually saw you in action photographing for this book when we were hanging out in Texas with designer Jhane Barnes… I feel like I was a witness to literary history. What inspired you first for the kissing concept?

Patrick McMullan: When I was editing my book, So8o’s two years ago I started noticing all these kissing photos I had taken and then thought ‘Gee I really ought to do a kiss book.’ Then last year when I made InTents (about the fashion tents in Bryant Park) I saw even more kisses and then I was really on it.

LAM: Right, this is the fifth hit book in a row for you. Why will Kiss Kiss appeal to everyone?

PM: Kiss appeals to all because it’s 30 years of history with that one constant…someone kissing on each page.

LAM: Everyone loves a good kiss – but it’s a very personal thing to most people. You have a really sexy, voyeuristic view of couples kissing. Is that your art imitating life?

PM: A lot of the people in this book are friends of mine and many are kissing to show their affection for each other. In many cases, with lovers for instance, they just started kissing when I asked to take their photo. There were so many different kisses and let’s face it, I’m drawn to exhibition.

LAM: I’ll say. Why is it that backstage kissing at the fashion collections is so different than the society folk kissing?

PM: Actually they’re very similar to me, except that the fashion folks come back to see the designer after a fashion show and they’re so excited by what they just saw. So there’s a lot of enthusiasm in their kisses. Society folk kiss to show their allegiance to one another.

LAM: Let’s talk about those silly society “air” kisses – do those even really count as a kiss? It’s so New York – here in Texas we’re a tad more slobbery…

PM: The air kiss, I think, started with women who are really good friends, but who are all done up with hair and makeup, so they don't want to ruin each other's looks. By the end of the night it’s more relaxed. I’m much more like a Texan when it comes to kissing because I give back as much or more as they give me. I like to hug and kiss, and I like to let it linger.

LAM: You have a range of kissing subjects and they look so happy. Since I’m now considering you a kissing expert, what makes a happy kiss?

PM: To me a happy kiss is when people are truly happy to see each other and are in love, or love the person they kiss, like their child.

LAM: Who was your favorite subject ever to photograph kissing?

PM: There are just so many and often it was in retrospect that I enjoyed the picture more. I loved Steve Rubell, though, because he was a real kisser.

LAM: Right, Steve Rubell of Studio 54 fame. And who was a favorite subject for YOU to be kissed by?

PM: Why all them pretty models, of course. Unfortunately, none of my real big kisses are recorded since I’m the photographer. Of course I have had my share of lovers.... and I am looking for a new one.

LAM: Anyone you thought was a lot sexier after you photographed them kissing?

PM: Definitely Nick [Lachey] and Jessica [Simpson].

LAM: Really? Maybe that’s why they made the cover of your book. And it seems like you’ve shot almost everyone alive kissing – anyone who got away from your famous lens that you really wanted to capture?

PM: Oh, really so many. No, wait… Brad and Angelina. I haven’t shot them yet anyway.

LAM: Coco Chanel said that one should spray cologne wherever one wants to be kissed. Where’s the first place you’d spray it?

PM: On my neck. I like to kiss people on the neck, too. For starters.