A Brief Encounter In New York With Bryan Ferry – Esquire USA (1985)


I was in New York City working for Esquire, shooting a series called Rock Gods.  I was using a studio just off Madison Avenue. I decided to do the shoot against a black back-ground with the figures emerging from the shadows. The first portrait was Bryan Ferry, his latest album Boys And Girls had just gone Gold in USA and Platinum in the UK.


He arrived nodding a  quiet “Hello”.  He was dressed in a sharp Armani suit and looked completely immaculate, so he didn’t need styling he arrived ready for action. He chain smoked throughout the shoot, barely speaking and his body never really moved, he just shifted from one foot the other staring intently down the lens.


I found him quite aloof, he said very little  only commenting that we had some mutual acquaintances in the music world.


Some artists you can get really enthusiastic with and tell them how much you like their work. Bryan was very self contained and somehow it just didn’t seem appropriate to say anything immediately.  I only had 30 minutes with him  but towards the end I  told him I’d worn out three copies of Virginia Plain then the whisper of a smile spread across his face and he then said very softly “Thank you, Clive”.  The image below shows his enigmatic smile and above is the  Liberty’s of London limited edition poster of the same image, which I pass in my hallway everyday. Despite our brief time together I really appreciate the work we did before he rushed off to another press call and Frankie Goes To Hollywood arrived….more on that later….


  • Clive Arrowsmith is 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


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