Hollywood Splash (2003) with photographs by Veronique Vial is an unapologetically fun look at celebrities, their pools, and the water (or wine) constantly dripping, pouring, or splashing around them. Overall this book is simple and pretty to look at, but ultimately repetitive in nature. Lots of tile or marble pools overlooking a desert landscape featuring classic desert fauna. Numerous images of people jumping into a pool or throwing water from a glass. The lighting is mostly a high-key flash, but there are images with natural light and moody lighting scattered throughout. The repetition is saved by the volume of recognizable and semi-recognizable faces on every page. Subjects include Andy Garcia, Leah Remini, Jeff Goldblum, Heidi Klum, and Melissa Joan Hart plus over 100 more. Although many of these images are not technically perfect, mainly lots of motion blur in the many images of motion, the fun aspect reminds the viewer not to take these images so seriously. On top of that, these subjects are clearly having fun and that transcends from each of those pictures. Many images show off celebrities being sexy, but not sexual, and many images show off celebrities relaxing or playing with their families and pets – demonstrating a range of what fun can mean. The photos that work the best for me are the ones that show both fun and drama. Ones with motion like a big splash or dribbling water with the subject’s full personality on display. Like Corey Feldmen wearing a suit and holding an umbrella in the shower (page 72) or the band All Rise making great faces as they jump in the water (page 152). The photos that I find the least successful are the ones where the subject is pouring a glass of rum while sitting in a chair (Andy Garcia on page 16 (see Desmond Harrington on page 19 for the successful and interesting version)). Images where the water element is not a main player but seemingly an afterthought in order to make the image on theme with a subject unwilling to jump fully clothed (or fully naked) into their backyard swimming pool.
My four favorite images from this book are Norman Reedus wearing a pink poncho as he waters his plants in the rain (page 25); Tom Arnold pretending to pee into his pool at night with a very high-key flash, dark night sky and a devilish look on his face peering over his shoulder (page 59); Nick Cannon biting into a water balloon, captured at just the perfect moment to see his grimace behind the explosion of water. He’s wearing a yellow and green sweatband to match the yellow water balloon and green landscape (page 63); and William H. Macy feeding his dog some water by the pool. He is dressed in a light blue suit, with his legs soaking in the pool, the lighting is warm and balanced with the night sky and the actor’s face is gentle and authentic. And the dog is cute (page 179).