Jeff Newton is Romancing the Joan

LA based photographer Jeff Newton knows the value of networking.  “You definitely have to be nice to people you don’t know.  You never know what position they’ll be in a few years down the line.”  For Jeff, this kindness led from a job shooting an album cover for a relatively unknown Gospel/R&B musician to a gig shooting Joan and Melissa Rivers for their new reality show Romancing the Joan.

During a gig at a live concert, Jeff developed a rapport with a director on set who was shooting live footage of the musician for a DVD.  One year later, this director was working on a new reality series for the SheKnows Network, starring the Rivers’.  He remembered the great work Jeff did and phoned him up to offer him the fantastic opportunity to photograph Melissa and Joan for promotional material for the show.

“When I got to the set, I was a little nervous because you never know how you’re going to connect with your subjects.”  It turns out that Jeff and Joan ended up connecting on – of all things – anthropology! Jeff’s wife is earning her PHD in anthropology at UCLA, and as it turns out Joan Rivers is a big fan of the science, and once considered a career as an anthropologist before hitting it big time.  “Sometimes it’s hard to even connect with dudes my age on set, so this was really cool for me.” 

Once they were able to connect on a personal level, Jeff had no trouble controlling the shoot and directing the celebrities as he saw fit.  They were both excited about the photo shoot, particularly the notoriously animated Joan Rivers.  “Joan is in her seventies, and she had more energy than everyone else on set combined,” recalled Jeff. 

The shoot went swimmingly, leaving Melissa and Joan ecstatic about the final product.  In fact, Joan requested huge prints for her personal use so she could hang them in her office.  Jeff will always remember this shoot, using it as a prime example of how effective networking can be when coupled with a genuinely kind approach.

To check out more of Jeff’s phenomenal work, visit his FoundFolios portfolio.


Melissa as Giuliana Rancic, Kelly as Christina Hendricks and Giuliana as Sofia Vergara are great. But I can’t tell which I love more: Joan Rivers as Miley or George as Lena.


Joan Rivers and daughter Melissa wait for fashion show to begin
Los Angeles Times, March 8, 1973

Joan & Melissa: Season 3 Sneak Peek! JKB returns Saturday, February 23rd at 9|8c on WE tv.