The Celebrities You Might Not Know Are Into Their Photography

Three headshots of celebrities at separate red carpet events, featuring a man with curly hair in a gray suit, a woman in a white dress, and another man with a beard in a black suit.
Mark Ruffalo (left), Lucy Liu (center) and Ben Affleck are all photographers too.

Everyone is a photographer, and that includes celebrities. But, some celebrities are seriously into their photography.

Here is a list of celebrities who take their photography more seriously than others, investing both significant time and money into developing their craft.

#1. Andy Serkis

Andy Serkis, filmmaker and actor famous for his unforgettable role as Gollum in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, is also a hobbyist photographer.

In 2019, Serkis had an exhibition of some of his photographs in the Leica Gallery in Mayfair, London. The exhibition — which was called “Because It’s There” — featured photographs that Serkis took on his trek to Everest Base Camp. The exhibition included portraits of sherpas he encountered on the climb as well as images that celebrated the “bravery, tenacity, and humor” of anyone who risks their life scaling mountains.

#2. Ben Affleck

While the public knows him best as an actor, Ben Affleck has been an avid photographer since high school. Affleck is constantly shooting photos and says he is fascinated with cameras and lenses to the point that it has become a “very serious addiction.”

Affleck says he regularly “get[s] made fun of” for being a huge camera geek and his wife Jennifer Lopez jokingly referred to her husband’s photography obsession in a new documentary.

Affleck has reportedly amassed a huge private collection of vintage camera lenses including an “unbelievable” set of Canon K35s that are rehoused, some old ARRI/FUJINON Alura Zooms, and “crazy Russian lenses from the 1950s” that he purchased on eBay among his collection.

#3. Jason Lee from My Name is Earl

Actor Jason Lee, best known for his role in NBC’s hit sitcom My Name Is Earl, recently opened a photography shop and camera store in Los Angeles with fellow photographer Raymond Molinar.

An avid photographer, Lee began shooting regularly in the early 2000s and has published multiple photography books, including A Plain View in 2018. He dove headfirst into photography in 2002 when he bought a Leica M6 and Mamiya RZ67 medium format camera.

Lee has long stuck with film photography, and analog equipment is the primary focus of his new L.A.-based store.

#4. Frank Ocean

Grammy award-winning singer Frank Ocean is also a film photography fanatic. Ocean’s passion for analog photography led Vogue to commission him to shoot behind-the-scenes images of the Met Gala in 2019 on his Contax T3.

There are also photos of Ocean shooting on different film cameras such as the Leica M6 and the Fujifilm GA645Zi.

Last year, Ocean published a 48-page photo book Mutations that featured a retrospective of portraits and images shot mostly by the singer himself between October 19 and December 22, 2022.

#5. Mark Ruffalo

Actor Mark Ruffalo — who starred in the hit film Poor Things earlier this year — has also been an active street photographer for the last decade.

“I’ve been doing street photography on and off for about 10 years. I just like how it captures people naturally; when people know a camera’s on them, they immediately change their behavior,” Ruffalo tells The New York Times.

For several years, Ruffalo regularly shared some of his street photography while on subway trains or at stations to his 20 million followers on Instagram.

#6. Jessica Lange

Before becoming a two-time Academy Award-winning actress, Jessica Lange studied photography at the University of Minnesota after winning a scholarship to study the arts.

Lange took up photography again in the 1990s when her partner, late playwright and actor Sam Shepherd, gifted her a Leica camera as a gift. Since then, she has been an active photographer and released several photography books including Highway 61.

Highway 61 was a photographic tribute to the storied route that Lange has traveled numerous times since her childhood in Northern Minnesota.

“It’s a great counterpoint to filmmaking because it’s a private, solitary experience,” Lange says of photography.

“It’s like writing or painting; it’s something you can do on your own.

“Acting is a co-dependent art form, and the actor is not in control. And filmmaking definitely informs the decision to photograph something. I’m drawn to situations with a dramatic feel to them as far as lighting or backdrop or people’s presence, the way someone stands.”

#7. Brendan Fraser

Academy Award-winner Brendan Fraser is also passionate about film photography and had exhibitions of the images that he took while filming on location for movie like The Mummy.

According to Tech Radar, Fraser would appear on the set of TV show Scrubs carrying a Polaroid, a folding pack camera, and a Holga camera as he is a huge fan of lo-fi photography. Fraser even has a dedication in the book Collector’s Guide to Instant Cameras.

#8. Gary Oldman

Actor Gary Oldman — known for his work on Batman, Leon, and the Harry Potter films — is a passionate photographer too. Oldman mainly shoots black-and-white images behind the scenes of his films. But he also has a love of wet-plate photography.

The actor has exhibited his photography a few times including in Berlin, Germany in 2012 and at the Flowers’ Gallery in East London in 2016. For his exhibition at the Flowers Gallery, Oldman shot portraits of artist George Blacklock entirely on a Swing-lens Widelux F6B.

#9. Cole Sprouse

Riverdale actor Cole Sprouse has an avid interest in photography. Sprouse took lessons in the craft at New York University (NYU) and went on to launch his own photography website in 2011.

He has since shot assignments for publications such as Vogue, W Magazine as well as fashion campaigns for Primark and Rabane.

“If I wasn’t acting I’d be doing that full-time,” Sprouse says about photography.

“I think with the way that we digest information nowadays, photography has become a perfect avenue to give the audience an understanding of yourself that goes a little deeper than a 10-minute interview about a show you’re doing or something of the sort. It just made sense to me.”

#10. Julian Lennon

Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon and his first wife Cynthia, is a philanthropist, musician, and a photographer. In fact, he counts photography as his greatest passion in life.

“Photography is the thing that makes me happiest, no question about it,” Lennon told The Guardian in 2013.

As a child, Lennon says he has always enjoyed taking pictures and his father John bought a Polaroid SX-70 when he was 10 years old. But Lennon says he became serious about photography after shooting his half-brother Sean Lennon’s tour in 2007.

Since then, Lennon has had several exhibitions of his photography. His first exhibit “Timeless” in 2010 included portraits of Bono and U2 in a recording studio and Princess Charlene of Monaco moments before being crowned Princess.

#11. Aaron Eckhart

Aaron Eckhart, the actor who played Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight is also a self-confessed “photography geek.”

“I’m obsessed with it — it’s all I do. That’s really the only thing I think about,” Eckhart reportedly People about his love of photography.

“I’m really just a photography geek. I just love to shoot.”

Eckhart first became interested in photography when he shot a campaign for a jewelry line produced by his close friend and model Molly Sims. However, the actor prefers shooting outside.

“Straight-up fashion photography in the studio–that’s not what I necessarily aspire to, you know?” Eckhart says.

“I like to be outside, on location, making up stories.”

#12. Lucy Liu

Charlie’s Angels star Lucy Liu is a photographer and visual artist as well as an actress.

She began doing collage mixed media when she was 16 years old, and became a photographer and painter. Liu has staged a gallery show almost every year since the early 1990s and landed an exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore in 2019.

In 2006, her exhibition “Antenna” at the Emotion Picture Gallery, in Canada incorporated paint and drawing into photographs.

#13. Nikki Sixx

Musician Nikki Sixx, who is best known as the co-founder of Mötley Crüe, is also a successful photographer.

Sixx is a recovering addict but has also called cameras his “new drug” of choice. He now carries a camera with him everywhere.

“My girlfriend sometimes says I need to put the camera down when we’re in bed,” Sixx told Rolling Stone in 2011.

“I have a guitar next to me, and I have a camera next to me, and I love it.”

Sixx has exhibited his work which focuses on his life on tour as well as homelessness and drug addiction. He published a photography book This Is Gonna Hurt: Music, Photography, and Life Through the Distorted Lens of Nikki Sixx.

Image credits: Header photos licensed via Depositphotos.