1986

Absolute Beginners Contacts

 Absolute Beginners Contact Sheet 1986  David Bowie is one if the easiest people to work with, he's so good in front of the camera that you can do a record cover in a single roll of film. When you are on a film shoot nothing endears you to the Director more than the ability to shoot fast.  Everything was pre-lit and tested beforehand, all it needed was for David to step into the frame and pose for three minutes.  Contact sheets can tell you a lot about both photographer and sitter, the twelve frames on a roll is now a thing of the past but back then it was the order of the day.  When you have to hand over the sheets to the publicist you never know what you will get back from the artist, sometimes with Rock Stars only a single frame from a dozen rolls is marked, sometimes they approve three or four, but that is not the case here.  In the right hand strip you can see a small X, this was the choice of David's management, safe as houses, but also kind of boring.  On the whole page you can see exactly the way David marked it up, excluding only two frames as a bad photo, ignoring seven more frames as they were OK but not great.  Then he has circled three of the frames including 4C, the one where he is smiling. The Art Director then marked a square around that same photo. I was very happy David and the AD chose it, but this surprised everyone who worked for him as he has never, before or since, smiled on a record cover.

Absolute Beginners Contact Sheet 1986

David Bowie is one if the easiest people to work with, he's so good in front of the camera that you can do a record cover in a single roll of film. When you are on a film shoot nothing endears you to the Director more than the ability to shoot fast.

Everything was pre-lit and tested beforehand, all it needed was for David to step into the frame and pose for three minutes.

Contact sheets can tell you a lot about both photographer and sitter, the twelve frames on a roll is now a thing of the past but back then it was the order of the day.

When you have to hand over the sheets to the publicist you never know what you will get back from the artist, sometimes with Rock Stars only a single frame from a dozen rolls is marked, sometimes they approve three or four, but that is not the case here.

In the right hand strip you can see a small X, this was the choice of David's management, safe as houses, but also kind of boring.

On the whole page you can see exactly the way David marked it up, excluding only two frames as a bad photo, ignoring seven more frames as they were OK but not great.

Then he has circled three of the frames including 4C, the one where he is smiling. The Art Director then marked a square around that same photo. I was very happy David and the AD chose it, but this surprised everyone who worked for him as he has never, before or since, smiled on a record cover.

Elvis in the Yellow Coat

Elvis Costello Jumping 1986

If there is one thing Elvis Costello has in spades it's enthusiasm. No matter what it is he's doing he always puts his heart and soul into it.

Around the time of King of America we did a studio session together, all went pretty normally, we shot close portraits, half lengths, photos with a guitar, all the usual stuff.

I told him we had enough good photos and could call it a day, but he replied that he had one more thing he wanted to try. He disappeared into the dressing room and came out a few minutes later in this bright yellow coat.

On many people it would look ridiculous, but Elvis has this ability to carry clothes well and it actually suited him. It did not seem to me that you could do anything other than full length shots in this outfit, he even had these black watch plaid shoes to top off the outfit.

So I suggested he just jump up in the air a few times. He happily did this, doing his best Pete Townshend impersonations, but for the last couple of frames he flung his arms out wide creating the photo you see here.

It appeared first in the Face, we always offered Nick Logan out best work and he ran this photo across a spread. To me it sums up EC perfectly.