Sandie Shaw, Kings Cross 1984.


I don't think I made a very big impression on Sandie Shaw.

At least, not in a good way.

Unless I make notes, I very rarely remember the precise, word for word dialogue in any meeting.  In this case, because there was so little of it, I remember every word like it was etched into my brain.  Even nearly 30 years later.

During our abbreviated photo shoot, she only ever said 4 things to me.  They were -

"Hi, I'm Sandie."

I admit, I did pause for a moment to consider a giving a witty response.  Like "Well you should be more careful where you sit."   But humour isn't really my strong suit and the moment quickly passed.  And felt it better to concentrate on what I was there to do.  So I just rather meekly said “Hi, I’m Derek.”

The next thing she said was -

"How long have you been doing this?"

This is normally code for "You don't really look like you know what you're doing"  and I've heard people say "How long have you been doing this?" many times.  Usually when I'm fumbling with my equipment.

My approach is very low key, it's true.  Imagine someone who is the polar opposite of the photographer in the film 'Blow Up' and you wouldn't be too far off.   At least, I've certainly never straddled any of my subjects on the floor.

Her penultimate comment was  -

"You're the most miserable photographer I've ever met."

Quickly followed by -

"I'm off."

And that was the last I saw or heard of her.   She left me standing there.

Maybe I should have run after her and persuaded her differently but I was always more of a reactive than proactive photographer anyway.  And if people want to walk out on me I'm inclined to think fine, I'll just be home quicker.

In the time she was with me, about 90 seconds, I took a total of about two dozen frames.  None of them were very good.  The above image is a detail of one of them.

She certainly doesn't look very impressed with me, does she?

I once mentioned this brief meeting to her ex-husband Jeff Banks and he simply said "Well, that's Sandie."

So if you ever read this Sandie, many apologies.  Maybe we caught one another on the wrong day?