When I told the caretaker of the house the Stones were a bit wild, he asked if there would be any naked dames since they were accused 10 added for that
The funny thing is that I’d had a virtual punch-up with the Rolling Stones time a few weeks before I did this photoshoot for their Beggars Banquet album in 1968. The Milk Marketing Board had sent me up to Newcastle for a campaign, and the Stones happened to be staying at the same hotel. We’d just been to their concert, and were having a late dinner. They were sitting next to us. Numerous females were coming up to Mick Jagger and asking for his autograph. So my sweetheart, Julie- who became my partner of 55 years- gone over, but she didn’t even get a chance to ask, because Mick just rippled her away saying:” No, cherish, you’re too young .” I had my camera ready, but unfortunately I didn’t take a draw. That would therefore be fanciful, Mick waving his arms around.
The next morning, the band were lounging around in the inn foyer. To their discernible anger I got my camera out and was about to snap them, but then their auto arrived and they left before they had a chance to say to me:” Who do you think you are ?” When I get chosen to do their album report I was dreading the thought that Mick was going to recognise me, so I had my hair cut much shorter and changed my clothing.
I was known for do group situations- a photograph with up to 50 beings became known as a “Michael Joseph” in the business- and my early shooting of a boardroom for a White Horse whisky ad in 1965 had been used as a monstrous advertisement all over England. That was what got me the Beggars Banquet job. The shoot place was wonderful, up in Sarum Chase, in Hampstead , north London, where Frank O Salisbury, the Victorian society painter, had lived and directed.
The caretaker there- a very careful, grey-haired man- said:” So this is for the Rolling Stones ?” I said:” Yes, I’m afraid they’re a bit wild .” He said:” No, that’s not a problem. But I’m a bit perturbed. Will there be any naked ladies ?” And I said:” No, it’ll exactly be the band. Why, what’s the problem with naked dames ?” And he told me:” Well, for naked madams, we bill PS10 extra .”
The 1961 film Viridiana, to be decided by Luis Bunuel– which has a famous representation of panhandlers at a dinner- was probably in the mind of Mike Peters, the skill head. There’s meant to be a ogle of decadence about the photo. That parole summarizes up the period. The shake 60 s was considered a period where people did what the fuck is liked.
The Stones arrived punctually. They were excited with my lighting setup, and this fantastic, beautiful office. I was already there, talking through a megaphone to the goats, pups and all the other animals we had for the kill, coming them to understand what it was all about. I was good with animals and they behaved very nicely. Most of the feast on the table was prop food, but fortunately, I’d put down a bowl of real cherry-reds, and the goat was munching apart on those. There are just a few felines knocking around the set, extremely, and they didn’t seem to be put off by 20,000 joules of light-footed flashing away.
We exclusively had two hours for the whole session, so literally within 10 minutes, the band were all altered. They precisely put on whatever costume they fanciful and we didn’t bother with makeup- it wasn’t necessary. I threw Keith Richards in the centre of the photo because he was the best-looking and the youngest. Bill Wyman , not so good-looking, so we introduced him further back. On the title, Brian Jones was very happy playing with a labrador. Charlie Watts was chit-chat up the stuffed monkey that’s on the table. Mick was happy to be centre-stage, standing on the table, clasping some of the swine. There were other kills from its current session where he’s holding a babe eagle, but then he got stood with that.
Brian had been busted the night before. The police knew the band were inhaling medicines, so they’d raided his lieu, but didn’t find anything. So he wasn’t actually arrested, but he was a bit quashed for the whole shoot. I plainly didn’t draw it up. Probably, they’d been out drinking all the night before, but nothing of them even imparted a bowl of chocolate in to the shoot.
The band were very well-behaved and everything is vanished like clockwork. My girlfriend was also at the photograph and at the end of the session, Mick came up to me and said:” You and your bird can come in my limo up to Swarkestone”- where we were doing more depicts for the book. But I never had any treats with the Stones after that.
* Best of Proud is at London’s Proud Galleries until 27 October, boasting uncommon photographs of JFK, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and more, by photographers Michael Joseph, Brian Duffy and Norman Seeff.
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