Behind the Scenes with Cam Newton for Ovation’s Premiere Issue

In this video, Ovation photographer Marc Serota recalls all the details that went into the cover shoot with NFL superstar and cigar connoisseur Cam Newton.


Ovation director of photography Marc Serota has shot everyone from LeBron James to Beyoncé over his 33-year career. For the debut issue of Ovation, he spent a busy week in Atlanta that included photographing Cam Newton for one of our two covers at the NFL quarterback’s new Fellaship restaurant, lounge, and cigar bar. Here, Serota takes us on location with the man himself.

The Photo

“I was looking for a classic image, and we found a black-and-white photo of Sammy Davis Jr. that I sent to Cam’s agent as an example of what I wanted to do. We shot the image in a VIP area that Cam designed to be his place. And that’s the key: getting him where he’s most himself, so the pictures just pop.”

Lions Panthers Football
Photo by Marc Serota

The Man

“It’s funny, but Cam came in like he owned the place! [Editor’s note: He does.] Smoking a cigar, totally laid-back. Didn’t have to introduce himself—you knew he was there. He was gracious and cool and said thank you to everyone.”

The Attitude

“Cam consumes anything negative and turns it back into a positive. I don’t think he cares about what people think. I’ll put it to you this way: Fellaship is unbelievable, and I got a sense that even if he were losing money, he’d still be doing it. He keeps a lot of people working and gives a very high profile to a neighborhood that quite frankly could have never imagined having a place like this a few years ago.”