“Just two people doing their job”
“I wanted to get a shot of an Oscar winner the morning after, when the reality bites that the statue has changed their lives, their careers, their pay-checks. I was so fed up with seeing actresses in ball gowns on stage crying, holding up their Oscars. I wanted my picture to tell the bigger story – the ‘morning-after reality.’
I doubt if she’d had any sleep with the partying, but she turned up on cue looking fabulous. I’d ordered coffee, juice and the newspapers with the news of her win and just threw them on the floor at her feet.
We did the take in 5 minutes, just the two of us, and she went back to bed. People think I took this shot that early in the morning because of the light, but the truth is, photographs around the pool at the hotel were banned. I had to slip the pool guy a few dollars to let me do it before security came on duty that morning.
Today this would be a big-ticket shoot, managed by hangers-on and publicists, thronged with hair and make-up. But it’s just two people doing their job.”
“There was no Google back then, so I had no idea of how good looking he was”
“This session came about after I was called by George’s aunt, Rosemary Clooney, who besides being a very famous singer and actress, was a loyal client of mine. Rosemary asked if I would consider doing a session with her nephew George who was a struggling young actor. There was no Google back then, so I had no idea of how good looking he was, but our conversation prior to shooting convinced me to do the session.
I was able to achieve a broad range of photographic studies of George, from the preppy frat brother to the dashing romantic leading man that he later became.
When I agree to do a session on spec, it’s a gamble. I have to be sure that someday I will be compensated if not monetarily then as a creative venture. This session with George proved to be both, the photos worked for George’s publicity and for my portfolio archive. The images are both internationally well-known and creatively satisfying.”
“As we are finishing, I ask her if I may photograph her in my hotel room”
“I arrive in Florence to meet Sophia Loren at The Ambassador Hotel. As I check-in, the concierge informs me that Hitler stayed here whilst visiting Mussolini. Some recommendation.
Tonight however Sophia Loren is here and as she arrives the guests and waiters in the reception area spontaneously applaud her. When we meet the next day I ask whether this happens often? She looks shocked and says, ‘Of course darling, I’m the Queen of Italy!’ before bursting into laughter.
I am photographing her with the conductor Zubin Mehta for Italian Vogue, but plan a separate portrait if she is willing. She seems ageless and teasingly adjusts my lighting positions. As we are finishing, I ask her if I may photograph her in my hotel room. It faces the Arno and the light coming through the window is perfect. Sophia raises her eyebrow at my request, but gives her permission.
We enter the elevator, it’s very tight inside and on the way up stops for an elderly couple, whose look of shock at seeing her is amusing. We reach my room; there is more surprise from the maids as they scurry out and then we are alone. I suddenly feel self-conscious, and Sophia Loren is teasing and performing to camera. I ask her to stand by the window and I walk out onto the balcony. The thin muslin curtain falls, stripping away the years. I can see the portrait straight away — through the camera the image of her is timeless as if I have made it 30 years before.”
“There was a quiet reverence we all felt for River”
“This was the last formal portrait shoot of River shot in LA, June, 1993, three months before he died. It was one of my most memorable shoots just from the wealth of powerful images that came out of it. He was very invested in the shoot and worked very hard at it pretty late into the night. I think everyone knew something special was happening. And there was a quiet reverence we all felt for River, he brought such intensity to the shoot.”
“A fascinating and intimate window on both photographer and subject”
Quote from Bob Ahern, Director of the Getty Images Archive
“New York based photographer Jack Robinson completed hundreds of portrait assignments from 1950 through to the early ’70s – and his archive runs the gamut of stars from the worlds of music, fashion, film and the arts.
We often think of the portrait as capturing the likeness and essence of the sitter in a single frame, but the contact sheet still holds a special charm – retrospective access to the shoot. The images behind the original edit can be a fascinating and intimate window on both photographer and subject.
Robinson often shot emerging talent and here English actor Michael Caine is in relaxed fashion for Jack’s lens, with Caine on the cusp of superstardom.”
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