Topless Beauty Image
The image above was one that I originally did for a magazine editorial in Milan. I remember at the time how I had really struggled to find a good model as I travelled from one agency to another. Part of the problem was that I was brand new so none of the bookers were feeling any need to be particularly helpful to a new guy with no real history of big jobs. The other problem I guess is that the magazine itself was very much a niche product aimed at the cosmetics trade rather than the general public, so the readership circulation wasn’t huge, though some lateral thinking might have helped the bookers to conclude that the few people reading the magazine were actually potential clients…
There came a moment when I was really fed up with the choice of models I was being shown and time was running short, so I went into a well known agency just as they were about close on a Friday evening and knowing that I had to complete the shoot the next day. I managed to pull the head booker to one side and tell her how incredibly disappointed I was with their choice of models and that I expected far better from a leading agency.
As a new photographer this was a risky strategy because I had zero clout at that time and could have completely alienated the head booker at one of the best agencies in the world, which would have been a major blow for my fledgling career. I must have struck a chord though because she took me seriously and clearly her pride kicked in, so she pulled out a book from under a shelf (literally) that hadn’t been on show before and told me “This girl is beautiful, we always have a couple in town”. She was right and I was able to book the model for my small editorial.
On the day of the shoot I remember I had been racing around like a maniac trying to get everything organised and I had really struggled to find any decent clothes because the job was low budget and there was no money for a stylist. The only logical solution was to shoot the model topless for the beauty editorial and thankfully she agreed. We proceeded to do a series of images and one of those was the one above.
I have often felt that far too many photographers portray a very negative image of the models they photograph and I am not sure that women really like this. After all, why would you want to be photographed by somebody who makes you look like you’re constantly miserable? As a photographer who genuinely likes women I find it natural to portray them in a positive light which is why I like to inject images with a feeling of freshness and optimism.
The image was eventually published and it led to an editorial with a better known magazine, but a few months after that it was seen by a leading advertising agency and I was asked to shoot an advertising assignment for Rimmel cosmetics along the same lines. The image from that subsequent shoot with a topless model was then used in several European countries to advertise a new range of grey coloured makeup that was in fashion at the time. Much of this and other stories are covered in my book.