Ian Dickson Shot Rock: The Photographer on His Photo of The Red Hot Chili Peppers

© Ian Dickson

By Ian Dickson

This shot of the Red Hot Chili Peppers was taken in Hamburg, Germany in 1992. I photographed the band while on an assignment for Vox magazine, a monthly music publication in competition with Q Magazine and now sadly defunct.

Henry Rollins, who was the support act that night, claimed his band blew the Chili Peppers off stage.

The band’s energy is infectious and you get caught up in the rhythm while taking pictures – such great fun. Each time you have to stop to load a new film, it feels like a rude interruption.

See more of Ian's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. Learn more about him on his website at www.late20thcenturyboy.com.

Helmut Newton: And Behind Every Great Man

© Estate of Helmut Newton

By Vibeke Knudsen

Rue Aubriot is one of the most enduring photographs I have had the privilege of being a part of.

It was the last shot in a series of photographs for the collections for French Vogue. Working with Helmut Newton was always “charged," as he was a god among fashion photographers.

The shoot took place at night. That was the only time that the collections were available for photography. We had breezed through the other shots and it was about 2 am when we pulled up in front of Helmut’s studio to do this last shot in the street.

As I came out of the (small) mini van, where we changed outfits, and stood under a single streetlight, it very quickly became clear that the energy had shifted and heightened.

It wasn’t just that the photographer was Helmut, the editor for the shoot was Francine Cressant, the hairdresser was Alexandre (lui meme), the makeup artist Jacques Clement, and that the suit being shot was a perfect example of YSL - at his best. It was, indeed, a collaboration of masters of their trade… and then there was a moment of magic thrown in. It seemed that we were all aware that something special was attached to the moment.

Helmut insisted on shooting with the streetlight only, which meant I had to stand completely still for two seconds - that’s a long time in stilettoes on cobblestones!

At this point, the atmosphere was that of total focus. No one but Helmut spoke.

While he was shooting, Helmut asked us all to come back the following night. He was already planning his next shot. He wanted me to use the same pose with a nude model (Aya) standing next to me. I was asked to wear the same suit. Aya was not completely nude in this shot; she wore high heels and a hat with a veil. Helmut included both shots in his book, White Women.

Since then, the two photographs have often appeared side by side. They have remained relevant, modern and perfectly classic.

There have been many attempts to replicate this photo, many ”inspirations” to ”duplicate” this photo. I have been part of a few indirect homages and even when they were beautiful, they have always fallen short.

Such is the special vision, focus and quality of Helmut Newton. All hail to the king!

And as for ”behind every great man, stands a great woman.” Never was this more true than in the collaboration of Helmut and June. June Newton, aka Alice Springs, was Helmut’s muse, inspiration and partner. June is a wonderful photographer in her own right and Helmut was her greatest fan. The woman behind Helmut was a part of his greatness.

I feel very fortunate to have worked as much as I did with Helmut Newton and very proud to be the model in Rue Aubriot. Thank you Helmut, thank you June.

Vibeke Knudsen was born in Denmark and has worked as a model in Europe and America for 40 years. In the 70's she often worked with Helmet Newton and considers herself fortunate to have collaborated with many of her profession's most gifted photographers. She now spends her time traveling. See this image and over 100 others at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes.

Albert Watson Shot Rock: The Photographer on His Photo of Michael Jackson

 © Albert Watson

By Albert Watson

This was the first and only time I worked with Michael Jackson. We were booked for a two-day shoot for the Invincible album cover and some inside photos. The shooting was divided into one day of portraits and one day of dance shots at my studio in New York.

I already owned a mirror rig that allowed me to adjust eight mirrors individually. And, of course, before Michael arrived, the mirrors and lighting were completely prepared on the set. To give Michael more flexibility (and to add a little fun) I gave him what was essentially a stripper's pole on a white Plexi stage. When he arrived on the set, Michael spent two or three minutes stretching and then started dancing in front of the mirrors to "Billie Jean," which we played over the studio stereo system. Because of the set-up and the preparation, it was hard not to get some magical shots in almost every frame during the roughly 30 minutes he danced in front of the camera. This was Michael Jackson dancing, after all. How could you go wrong?

I found Michael charming, cooperative, totally professional, and a pleasure to deal with. The shooting was actually quite easy. After seeing the contact sheets from the shoot, the final print was essentially one gigantic contact sheet. From far away, the print looks almost like a piece of wallpaper, but close up, it gives you a very good idea of the entire shooting, and the charisma and power of Michael's dancing."

See more of Albert's images in Who Shot Rock & Roll, showing at the Annenberg Space for Photography through October 21, 2012. Learn more about him on his website at www.albertwatson.net.

Model Sylvia Gobbel On Working With Helmut Newton

Self-Portrait with Wife and Models, Vogue Studios, Paris 1981

©Estate of Helmut Newton

By Sylvia Gobbel

The first time I met Helmut Newton was when my agency sent me to a casting call for French Vogue for the haute couture summer collections which were shot by Helmut Newton. I was 19 and had been in Paris for just two weeks. A long line of beautiful models was waiting to be recieved by the master and suddenly Helmut stood up, looked at me and asked me to step forward….He interviewed me about my origins and since I’m Austrian, we started to speak German immediatly together. Helmut spoke a very fine and charming upperclass German from Berlin, which pleased my ear.

He told me that he would love to shoot the haute couture French Vogue with me but was much more interested in seeing if I would like to shoot some nudes for his next book. I had never posed nude before, but, since I loved his work, I accepted right away.

Helmut was tired that day; he just had his third heart attack and he was in convalescents.

Soon we shot for French Vogue and, a few days after, our first nude titled Sylvia In My Studio. At that time Helmut still had his studio in Paris (rue de L’Abbé de l’Epée), where he was living with his wife June. After makeup and hair, just so I wouldn’t be embarrassed in front of everyone, Helmut sent everybody else home. The only person who remained with us was June, who made the shoot really comfortable for me.

June and Helmut were the most loving couple I’ve ever met. Such a complicity, so much sense of humor and tenderness…

We worked until late at night and we shot a great pic standing at the window, while it was dark outside….I had to wear very high heel shoes, such as Louboutins, but in the eighties you only could find those kind of shoes in Pigalle, the shopping and working area for prostitutes and transvestites. Helmut loved to go shopping in that neighborhood for his shoots, because he could find all kinds of strange accessories for his work.

After that first shoot I had the chance to work with Helmut quite a bit. I was his muse for a few years…You can see many of the nudes that we did together at Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes, currently at the Annenberg Space for Photography. I also had the chance to be on the cover of his book, Big Nudes (published in 1981) which he dedicated to me. We shot lots of campaigns together such as VERSACE POMELLATO AMICA..etc. I lost contact with Helmut once I stopped working as a model. My biggest regret is that I didn’t meet him one last time to thank him for everything he did for me.

Images of Sylvia Gobbel modeling for Helmut Newton can be seen in Helmut Newton: White Women • Sleepless Nights • Big Nudes. For more information about Gobbel, please see her official website here.

 

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