In this four-part series, iconic Australian fashion photographer Robert Rosen reveals his career highlights.
First up, Rosen reflects on key celebrity moments from the 1970s onwards.
Daniella and David Bowie, Blitz Club, London, 1979
This photo was taken at The Blitz Club. Steve Strange, who ran the night, had called to let me know David Bowie was coming and I should bring my camera. I was quite nervous and while waiting in the VIP area, checked the camera. It had no film in it! A friend ran off to buy some for me so when Bowie arrived I was ready. As soon as he sat down, I snapped a shot, the flash erupting. Bowie beckoned me over: “Don’t you know it’s rude not to ask first ..” I apologised and said something about the flash going off. I asked if I could take another photo, to which he kindly agreed, saying “Of course." This is the first.
Andy Warhol, London, 1980
I met Andy at a private dinner held in his honour at a house in Oxford. When my companion left early, I asked Andy for a lift back to London. He’d been such a great influence on my life and yet he was friendly and down to earth. He told me his favourite food was potato salad! He liked my red shoes and invited me to take tea with him at the Ritz the very next day. From there, he invited me to his party at Regines. I know that people are often disappointed when they meet their ‘hero’ in real life but not for me. Andy was a real star and a beautiful man.
Grace Jones and KID Creole, Camden Palace, London, 1981
This photo was such a fluke. I was at the Camden Palace, Steve and Rusty’s night, and I wanted to get an image of Grace. She was talking to some guy, I had no idea who he was. Yet when I snapped Grace, it was the guy who started screaming “Get that camera out of my face!” I said “I’m not shooting you, I’m shooting Grace, if you don’t like it get out of my shot!” It was not until later someone told me who he was! So funny.
Grace Jones performs at the Elandra Hotel, Queensland
Grace has to be one of the world’s greatest performers. I went backstage after this event to present her with a photo I had taken of her and her brother Christian back in 1982. There were a lot of press waiting for interviews, and as she emerged from her dressing room she simply pointed at me and said “I’ll see him first." We sat in her dressing room, talked and drank her favourite Crystal champagne until the other press were pounding on the door to be let in. I chose this photo for the cover as it captures the essence of fashion and and fame, it is pure glitterati!
GLITTERATI Shooting Fashion, Fame & Fortune. New Holland Publishers. RRP$79.99. Available at all good bookstores or online at www.newhollandpublishers.com.