The first shoot I did with Greta was for a jewellery company whose name I can’t recall, I think it was De Beers. I also cannot locate the pictures. A few years later she walked into a casting looking so beautiful and vivacious. I leapt up and said ‘Greta where have you been?”. The thing I noticed about her was that she had the most beautiful laugh and was always smiling. She was light and full of vigour and sensual. She had a mystery and naughtiness about her that made you dissolve when she looked at you. Even as a young model, she was very aware that she was a woman with her own feminine sexual power.
I shot the image above of Greta for Esquire Magazine in 1981 for an article called ‘Ladies Left in Waiting’ the women who could have been, would have been, potential brides for Charles. Greta looked amazing in this Anthony Price dress. When I explained to her, the concept behind the shoot being women who could have married Prince Charles she burst out laughing and I took this picture.
The next time I shot Greta was for a jeans editorial for David Lichfield’s Ritz magazine (above). I could only photograph her from the back showing the edge of her bosom. She was completely at home with herself and her fantastically beautiful body. She had a chameleon like quality where she could change from being a 1930s silent movies siren to a French Cinema Noir vamp.
The Ritz shoot attracted the attention of an opulent jewellery company and they asked me to recreate the Ritz images with Greta draped in a really expensive ruby necklace and wearing black leather jeans (above). The necklaces arrived with security guards who I sent off to the studio cafe and I shot Greta with the stylist, make up artist in attendance. At the end of the shoot I said to her, I’ve got another shoot I want to do with you in Morocco and she said, “Clive Darling, I am going to concentrate on acting now, this is one of my last shoots as a model.” When she told me she was going to stop modelling I felt really sad but she was determined to become a great actress and to her credit she did and is.
I then did not see her for a long time, except in movies. Classics like White Mischief and Heat and Dust. Then the British Arts Council asked me to do a shoot of notable people with their favourite works of art from the Arts Councils collection. I shot Roald Dahl, David Attenborough, Jean Muir, Greta and for some reason me (so I had to shoot a self portrait). All the art was brought to the studio surrounded by very heavy security ( Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Bridget Riley etc).
Greta walked into the studio and just positioned herself in front of the vast Auerbach. A woman very much in possession of herself and nothing had changed about her, she was still the same vivacious Greta even though she was an internationally acclaimed movie star. She walked out of the studio smiled and thanked me. Sometimes when I am sat at my computer screen working on a picture, now and again I hear a delicious voice in a radio play. I think, I know that voice and the credits roll and I hear the name Greta Scacchi and I remember her way and her smile.