The limo picked us outside our hotel (The Algonquin) and myself, my assistant Willie Christie, Grace Coddington and the model, my muse Anne Schaufuss piled into the back. On the spur of the moment Grace had said, “We are going to photograph Andy Warhol.”
I thought to myself and whispered to Willie, ‘Oh, I hope there is a big window as we haven’t brought any lights, it’s just me and my Nikon’s.” We had planned to shoot Andy and then drive out to Yale University. Grace had arranged for us to photograph Anne with some Baseball players, Andy Warhol and The Factory visit was a late addition to our schedule.
Warhol was a man of few words and wielded an antique polaroid camera and insistently took polaroids which he then dropped on the floor, without looking at them. I said ‘Are you going to open the polaroids Andy? He said, ‘No, I like them to cook because the colour becomes more intense.’ He didn’t want to be photographed alone, but was happy for me to shoot him in background with Anne (who Grace had dressed like a doll complete with a huge lollipop ) and his large stuffed great dane.
A few years earlier I had met Andy with an ex of mine, who took me to a party at Diane Von Furstenbergs incredible apartment near central park with walls covered in great art. Andy invited a group of us to go back to The Factory to see a screening of the film Trash, I think it was. Unfortunately I fell asleep during the screening which was somewhat ironic as Warhol’s other cinematic opus was a film called Sleep. We didn’t have long at The Factory and I didn’t consider Andy Warhol to be that important at the time. It all seemed highly pretentious to me and I was more interested in taking photographs of Anne and working with Grace than his output.
I’d met the Warhol Superstars and shot them in London in 1971 when they were promoting Trash. Below are the pictures which Vogue UK recently included in their Vogue’s Campest Moments feature here. I’m number 15, 16 and 17 although I am sure I took camper pictures for them than this if I am honest. Below Joe d’Alessandro, Jane Forth and Geraldine Smith (Warhol Superstars).
We left Andy’s apartment and headed out towards Yale. I was leaning out of the window when I saw this giant statue above a car wash. “Pull over” I said to our divine driver who immediately drove onto the forecourt. I got out of the car and dashed into the car wash and said, ‘Hello, who is in charge.” A rather large guy said’ “Hello, what do you need?” I then said, ‘This is such an amazing statue, would you let me photograph my model next to it on the roof for Vogue Magazine.” ‘Vague Magazine.” he said, ‘No its Vogue’. By this time Annie was standing at my side looking incredible and he looked at her and said “Oh Wow, yeah sure, I will just get the guys.”
He then reappeared with three equally burly workers carrying a long ladder which Anne bravely and nervously climbed up in her rainbow wedge heals. She even managed to look relaxed while I stood on another ladder, shouting instructions which had been provided by the car wash guys, who stood mesmerised by Anne while I took this picture. We didn’t have time to mess about we just got on with things.
We got to Yale and Grace had envisaged this all American shot of Anne with the baseball team. It took a while but I eventually got the baseball floating in the air.
As we drove back from Yale I shot this photo of Anne with the moon rising behind her, it wasn’t necessarily for the magazine but is a one of my favourite pictures of her.
The next day we shot some more in the city with the New York Fire Department and also in Central Park and outside the Guggenheim.
We had to capture that classic New York Central Park moment with the horse and carriage.
You couldn’t leave New York without photographing a hot dog stand and where better than outside the Guggenheim Museum. As I was shooting this guy dashed into the frame and took a picture of me taking a picture of Anne. May I just say this is not me (which I am often asked) as I was a young man at the time and more to the point he is using a Kodak Rettinet I think. I was really hung up on Nikon’s and Hassleblad’s, not much has changed and I use them to this day.
As we were driving away through the city I saw this incredible skyline and a plinth in the middle of the road for Anne to stand on. The light was fading and so was I after so many days of shooting. I asked Grace to put Anne in a different outfit which she swiftly did. We were parked illegally and as I was shooting the cops came over and a voice behind me said, “Get the girl down from there and stop taking photographs”. I managed to get a couple of frames and this was the last image from the British Vogue – The American Issue location shoot. I love New York.