Tom Verlaine, Portobello Road, London 1984.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Of all the famous people I've ever photographed, well over 90% of them are perfectly polite and personable.  Even if they don't, as I suspect many don't, really want to spend any amount of time that day having their photo taken, they take the trouble to be fairly nice about it.  Tom Verlaine is one of the other sort.  

As soon as we met I tried to talk to him about the brief I'd been given by 'The Face' magazine but he just cut me dead.  "Lets just get it over with.  Taking a photograph is just like drinking a glass of water."  It's over 26 years ago now but I still remember his exact words.  Maybe he was in a bad mood?  I hope so.

I was always a big fan of his work and that certainly didn't change just because he was a bit short with me.  Actually, some days, I think I'd be rude to me too.

Incidentally, the fairly specific brief I got from ‘The Face’ was that they wanted the photo to cover a double page spread with the subject over on one side, so that they could run text over the photograph on the other side.  To begin with, I used to hate being given what I felt were fairly stupid layout stipulations.  Ultimately though, I came to feel that they were a help rather than a hindrance in the sense that it often forced one to look creatively in different directions than one might otherwise.  And of course, if one ever wants to shoots a magazine’s cover, layout stipulations are usually essential.