Thursday, July 12, 2007
Years ago Annie Leibovitz took the pictures for an interview with Keith Richards I did for Vanity Fair. I wasn't at the shoot and I only met Leibovitz briefly. She was surrounded by assistants and we just said a quick hello. It was enough to put me in my place. I remember thinking my copy need say little more than, 'Here are some nice pictures of Mr Richards by Ms Leibovitz.' I've often since had the humiliating feeling that, when big photographers are involved, the writer is an inconvenient afterthought. He has no assistants or stylists, he doesn't have hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of equipment and, chances are, he will be visibly poorer. Photographers are also professional liberty-takers. I still remember the sharp intake of breath when I phoned The Sunday Times magazine from LA to assure them that the photographer had arrived with all six of his assistants.... breath, long pause.... 'SIX! What the f....!' And, if photographers can steal the time allocated for the interview, they will. The only time I've ever employed physical force on a story was against my own photographer. But, hey, I like the guys, I really do. All of which is inspired by an exchange that took place between Leibovitz and the Queen. Leibovitz suggested she take off her crown for a more informal, less dressy effect. "Less dressy? What do you think this is?' responded Her Majship before flouncing out. Sometimes you just know she's on our side.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:02 am