Saturday, 30 October 2010 When I tell people what I do for a living, the one question I get asked more than any other is “who was your favourite subject?” Actually, sometimes that’s the only question people ask.
I don’t have a very good answer, I’m afraid.
Anyone that I’ve enjoyed photographing once, I always want to photograph again. With the prior knowledge that they’re good to work with, I can go to the shoot with a greater expectation and the sense that maybe I can push myself a lot harder a second time. On the other hand, with anyone I didn’t really enjoy photographing, or didn’t do a very good job with, I’m always convinced things would be bound to be better a second time, whatever happens. (Things don’t always work out like this. Musicians, actors and the like are usually creative people and, just like photographers, can have good days and bad days).
Michael Stipe would certainly come into my first category, he’s a perfect subject, has nice eyes and a great head, and is a keen photographer himself (and that always helps).
Lou Reed would come into the second category. He’s famously moody and is always difficult with members of the press. He seems to view photographers with particular suspicion. For our session, he would not get up out of his chair because, he said, he didn’t want to be made to “look short.” I thought to myself: “but you are short mate, it’s not my fault.” I kept that to myself, of course.
Nevertheless, he’s a bona fide rock icon and he’d certainly be in the list of subjects I’d love to try to shoot again.