I photographed fashion for over ten years, during a halcyon period from the mid 80's to 1997. It was a time when counter-culture was encouraged in all of the arts and London was a thriving hub. Corporations and corporate identities were nascent glimmers then and independence rocked.
Percy Savage, a waspish, wonderful mentor guided me through a hitherto unknown world of fashion photography. An Australian who could plausibly be described as Nöel Coward-meets-Crocodile Dundee–in-Ally Capellino, had cut his couture gnashers in Paris in the 1950’s and 1960’s where he had become Dior’s PR man. He would walk his two leopards (gifted by Haile Selassie) through the Bois de Boulogne and rumour has it that Eau Sauvage was named after him. Knowing Percy, I believe it. He taught me the value of finding beauty in both life and imagery.
I then joined the bold and extraordinary Z Agency. Ziggi Goulding its founder and guiding light espoused ideals of gender and racial equality in all things and promoted that aegis through her roster of models, photographers and hair/make up artists. After Z, Terrie Tanaka, a London based, Los Angelena who’d worked with Ziggi took this further and fostered my photography with loyal tenacity into the 1990’s.
As a result, I had an unreasonably good time working on imaginative ‘stories’ that usually involved much movement and laughter. I worked with people who frequently became friends and enjoyed that camaraderie and the necessary collaboration with others that made fashion photos come to life. I photographed for British Vogue, The Face and Scene Magazine.Then cliché of clichés, I fell in love with a model. The fun left when she did and I stopped this phase of my career there and then in 1997. I never looked back.
Lockdown has led me to explore a long and full photographic past, and not just the documentary photography that has made my name. I’ve found images from a ‘lost’ period that have never, ever been seen before, let alone been printed.
Ah the joys of a film scanner, loads of music and even more time indoors…
These pictures were of course, all shot on film, so have a quality that is very different to todays’ digital imagery. Most were photographed in 35mm on a Leica and occasionally using a Rolleiflex 2 ¼ inch format but movement and vibe were my joy so the smaller and lighter the camera, the happier I was. This means some are grainy, some are even a little soft by today’s HD standards but that is part of the charm and I relish that. I’m very happy that new technology has brought them out of hiding and allowed for them to be printed using the best of both worlds, analogue meeting digital.
I hope you enjoy these images at their first global premiere on The Dandy Collective. Given that I’ve only just reached 1989 in the myriad files of negatives and slides, I’m looking forward to being surprised by the next tranche of stories. So please watch this space for the best of the remaining years worth of this fashion history, yet to emerge into the light.
I should however warn you that I know I never managed to persuade any of my model friends to work with a leopard. I do however remember shoots with a python, a camel or two and a mean giraffe called Robert…