I went to The Savoy Hotel in London for a US publication to photograph Mick, on our arrival the concierge said “He’s on the sixth floor”. So I went up to the sixth floor and heard some music coming through a doorway, so I knocked on the door and Nick Rhodes (Duran Duran’s keyboard player) answered. I immediately walked in with my two assistants who were behind me carrying lights, Nick looked at me strangely and said quizzically “Hi Clive, what’s happening”. I said “Oh, I’m here to photograph Mick” at which point Nick said “Mick’s not here, he’s in the suite opposite”
Slightly phased I instructed my assistants to disassemble the lights that they had just hastily put up and retreated to the Mick Jagger suite across the hall, mumbling profuse apologies as I went. At this point the lively cocktail party had ground to a halt and everyone was staring at me and my scrambling assistants as we slunk away. I was so embarrassed and more to the point I was now late for Mick (you can’t be late for superstars!).
I dashed across the hallway in a nervous state of mind and knocked on the door. Mick came to the door of his suite in a white dressing gown and said gently “Oh hello man, come in”. Once I was shooting these portraits I explained our lateness was the result of us gate crashing the Duran Duran party across the hall. He was greatly amused by our comedy of errors, which was a great relief. I wondered if the Savoy doorman had thought I said Nick rather than Mick!
In the last picture (above) Mick looks like a Borgia Prince, the way the light falls on his face in this image captures that aesthetic. As always my main influence in terms of lighting is the Italian Renaissance. This shoot fell into silence and this image emerged at the end, when neither of us was talking.
The first time I’d seen Mick was on Ready, Steady, Go! when I took the above image of him and Brian Jones performing, when I’d just started to take pictures. He laughed at the mention of Ready, Steady, Go! as that was one of The Rolling Stones’s first TV appearances and had obviously changed their lives forever. I said ‘Thanks, for your time. I think we both know Bebe Buell”. He said “Oh yeah, Bebe” and smiled and laughed again.
- Clive Arrowsmith is still shooting stunning images, staging exhibitions and is as passionate about photography as he was when he first pressed the shutter at The Paris Collections. He is available for global media opportunities related to his work and photography generally. Bespoke prints from Clive’s archive are also available by special request, for any enquiries (email Eugenie here). Clive’s book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty & Portraits is available here and Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 is available here