- ISSUE 2
- FANNY BY DAVID BELLEMERE
- ISSUE 3
- DIORA’S KEY STARRING DIORA BAIRD BY STEPHANIE VOVAS
- TOY STORY REDUX BY TONY KELLY
- ESTELLA WARREN
- SHE LOOKED THRU ME
- EMILY RATAJKOWSKI BY STEVE SHAW
- RITUAL BY SIGNE VILSTRUP
- HARRI PECCINOTTI
- AU LAIT BY BENEDICT REDGROVE
- IOAN GRUFFUDD
- 16 PELL STREET BY STEPHAN WÜRTH
- LE PREMIÈRE FEMME MODERNE
- JENNIFER WEST
- ISSUE 1
- BROOKE BONELLI BY STEVE SHAW
- TERRY O’NEILL
- TONY DURAN SHOOTS THE CASTING FOR TREATS ISSUE #1
- STEVE SHAW PHOTOGRAPHS JASON STATHAM, SPRING 2011
- ELSA HOSK BY ANDREAS KOCK
- RACHEL ROBERTS BY DEBORAH ANDERSON
- SAS BY TONY KELLY
- LAUREN, NIKKI, AMANDA, ABBY & FRANKI
- SHEPARD FAIREY
- KHOSI BY WARWICK SAINT
- DOWN IN THE FOREST SOMETHING STIRS
- THE GARDEN OF SIN & SEDUCTION
- ISSUE 4
- ALBERT MAYSLES
- SESSILEE LOPEZ BY MARK SELIGER
- FALLING BY GABRIELLE REVERE & JO BAKER
- MODERN ARTISANS BY TONY DURAN
- ANTHEA BY DAVID BELLEMERE
- ASTRAL TRAVELING BY PETROVSKY & RAMONE
- GOLD RUSH BY TONY DURAN
- NICO TORTORELLA
- KING LOUIS REIGNS
- ALANA MARIE
- AMANDA MARIE PIZZICONI BY BRETT RATNER
- WATER GIRLS
- TADAO ANDO: THE SIMPLICITY OF PERFECTION
- DUANE MICHALS
- STORK CLUB: THE MOST FAMOUS NIGHTCLUB ON EARTH
- ISSUE 5
- LE PRINCE DE PARFUM
- JOHN VAN HAMERSVELD
- EVA & KELSEY BY LUIS SANCHIS
- CISCO BY DAVID BELLEMERE
- BOB CARLOS CLARKE: THE LAST OF THE MAVERICKS
- TRIPTYCHS BY SAMUEL BAYER
- ZUZANA BY ANNE-CONSTANCE FRÉNOY
- VANESSA BY KESLER TRAN
- THE MAN WHO (ALMOST) FOOLED EVERYONE
- TABITHA BY STEVE SHAW
- JAMES GEORGOPOULOS BY MAXWELL WILLIAMS
- HOLLIE BY MARIANNA ROTHEN
- EUGENA BY JOSH RYAN
- BLACK TONGUE BY SAMUEL BAYER
- TEHILA BY JAMES MACARI
- TREATS! PARTY PICS
- BRETT RATNER SHOOTS AMANDA PIZZICONI
- BLACK TONGUE
- FALLING BY JO BAKER & GABRIELLE REVERE
- JO BAKER – WICKED LINER AND LASHES
- SIGNE VILSTRUP – RITUAL (VIDEO)
- TREATS! MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 PREVIEW
- “ASTRAL TRAVELING” BY PETROVSKY & RAMONE FOR TREATS! ISSUE 4
- SHORT FILMS
- THE SUMMER HOUSE BY JOE WEHNER
- TREATS! ISSUE #3 LAUNCH PARTY
- TREATS! MAGAZINE ISSUE 3 PREVIEW
- MARK SELIGER SHOOTS SESSILEE LOPEZ EXCLUSIVELY FOR TREATS!
- “WATER GIRLS” BY HERRING & HERRING
- DIORA BAIRD BY STEPHANIE VOVAS (VIDEO)
- TRICK OR TREATS! ANNUAL HALLOWEEN PARTY
- FRANK W OCKENFELS 3 SHOOTS MAY LINDSTROM FOR ISSUE #3
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS EMILY RATAJKOWSKI (VIDEO #2)
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS EMILY RATAJKOWSKI (VIDEO)
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS IOAN GRUFFUDD
- STEVEN LYON SHOOTS “FILLES DE NUIT” FOR TREATS ISSUE #2
- BROOKE BONELLI GETS A TREAT! OF A TAN!
- TONY DURAN, BEHIND THE SCENE PART 3
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS BROOKE AND MAY – BEHIND THE SCENES
- DEWY SKIN BY JO BAKER
- FILLES DE NUIT BY STEVEN LYON
- TREATS! PREMIERE ISSUE OSCAR PARTY
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS ABBY BROTHERS
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS JASON STATHAM
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS BROOKE & MAY
- RED LIPS BY JO BAKER
- SHIMMERY SEXY EYES
- METALLIC CAT EYE BY JO BAKER
- JO BAKER MODERN ROMANTIC
- TREATS! PHOTOGRAPHERS
- TONY DURAN SHOOTS THE CASTING: BEHIND THE SCENES PT. 2
- BEN WATTS SHOOTS BREAKING AWAY FOR TREATS! ISSUE 2 – PT. 1
- TREATS! MAGAZINE ISSUE 1 PREVIEW
- ELECTRIC BY HERRING & HERRING
- AUDREY AT THE GOLDSTEIN RESIDENCE
- TONY DURAN SHOOTS EMILY RATAJKOWSKI IN “LIKE IT HOT” FOR ISSUE #2
- TREATS! EVENTS
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS AMY HIXSON
- BEN WATTS – BREAKING AWAY FOR TREATS! ISSUE 2 VIDEO PT. 3
- BEN WATTS: THE INTERVIEW, PT. 1
- BEN WATTS SHOOTS BREAKING AWAY FOR TREATS! – PT. 2
- STEVE SHAW SHOOTS BROOKE BONELLI
- TONY DURAN, BEHIND THE SCENES PART 1
- BEN WATTS FOR TREATS! PREMIERE ISSUE: BEHIND THE SCENES
- BEN WATTS – THE INTERVIEW PART 2
- MODEL SCREEN TESTS
- WEB EXCLUSIVES
- RALPH GIBSON’S NUDE: REDUX
- TASYA VAN REE: THE FEMALE GAZE
- ERIC STANTON: IT’S A WOMAN’S WORLD
- TREATS Q&A: STEVE SCHAPIRO
- MALIBU’S LOST SHANGRI-LA
- WHERE MODERNISM FOUND ITS HOME
- CONRAD ROSET: THE MUSE IS THE MEDIUM
- DAVID PAUL LARSON: RAW APPROACH
- POST NO BILLS & FAILE
- BAKER’S BEAUTY MARK: SPF SHOWDOWN
- CHIC ROUGH SHINY WEARABLE THINGS
- FIFTY SHADES OF DE SADE
- THERE WILL BE HISTORY
- PROPRIETRESS OF PLEASURE, AKA OWNER!
- THE ZIGGY FILES
- BAKER’S BEAUTY MARK: OLYMPIAN METALLICS
- CARMEL VALLEY INN
- A ROUGE AWAKENING: IT’S ALL ABOUT THE LIPS
- CAMPGROUND CHIC MEETS LUXURY LODGINGS
- MODEL TALK – DIORA BAIRD
- ACHTUNG, BERLIN!
- SKIN RE’TREAT!
- ARMANI’S CREMA THE CROP
- MR MAXWELL WILL SEE YOU NOW
- PEACHY KEEN: SLIDE INTO SPRING WITH CHANEL’S HARMONIE DE PRINTEMPS LINE
- BELA BORSODI: THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PHOTOGRAPHER
- TREATS! Q & A: DAVID BELLEMERE
- MODEL TALK: MAY LINDSTROM
- HELMUT 3.0
- A BALANCING ACT LIKE NO OTHER
- THE CHARMING BENEDICT REDGROVE
- BAKER’S BEAUTY MARK: MON SHU
- YEAR OF THE BUNNY
- ADVENTURES IN RIO: BRAZIL & BUST
- SEX LIT 101: CLASSIC EROTICA
- TREATS Q&A: JARRED LAND
- LA PERLA: COSA C’È SOTTO!
- NICK VEASEY: X MAN
- TOM O’NEAL: MOMENTS IN TIME
- TREATS! Q&A: EDOUARD MEYLAN OF CELSIUS X VI II
- TREATS Q & A: D.A. PENNEBAKER
- 2 1/2 HOURS
- LUXURIANT DESERT JEWELS
- BUTTERFLY DREAMS IN CHINA
- WHO IS DOUG BARTLETT?
- ALLAN TEGER: PEAKS & VALLEYS
- MAKE IT NEW: THE STORY OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE
- GUSTAV KLIMT: THE SHAPE OF A WOMAN
- THE MOST INTERESTING TOWN IN THE WORLD
- JIMMY STEINFELDT: IN THROUGH THE LENS
- FOREVER YOUNG
- TREATS Q & A: JOHN URBANO
The legendary 76-year-old British-born photographer and designer has broken all the taboos of photography in his illustrious career: He incorporated black models before anyone; his sensual close-ups of body parts, including female nipples, made people gasp; and his edgy art design for NOVA magazine shook up a stale publishing world. TREATS! meets with the iconic photographer in his Parisian pied-à-terre to talk photography, women & his Pirelli calendar odyssey.
by Jenny Sundel
How did you discover photography?
I had an art teacher who thought I could draw for some reason. I left school at 14, and she put me in touch with her husband
who was in charge of all the graphics and advertising for Smiths Motor Accessories, which was a big factory. I went there to learn to do lettering because there was no letterset then. You had to take photographs for your roughs, so there was a little photographic department. They had Rolleiﬂ exes and things like that. For the ﬁrst couple of years I was learning how to do technical illustrating, how to take photographs, how to put type on, so I could make a complete rough. I was always taking photographs from working in the design department, so I got very interested in it. And very nice people taught me, so I was sort of educated into photography.
Do you remember the ﬁrst photo you took just for fun?
I took a lot of pictures in Holland because I was interested in the painter Mondrian. I used to go to Vlissingen when I was about 18 and go to where the trees that Mondrian used to [paint]. There’s the ﬁrst tree he did. So I used to take photographs around Vlissingen, just people on the street and everything. While you trained in graphics, you also played in a brass band in London. I used to play trombone and tuba and string bass. After two or three years in learning graphics, I changed and spent about two or three years professionally playing music. Then I was disillusioned with it all and I didn’t ever go back. Unfortunately, I haven’t practiced much since which is really stupid. Now I regret it, of course. But there are lots of little things I regret. I wish I had gotten into movies, I wish I had bought a house. I have a lot of what-ifs, but anyway, here I am.
You designed album covers for jazz artists on Esquire Records. Who were some of the biggies?
Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and the Modern Jazz Quartet. They were all graphic things. They were not photographs at all. I got paid ﬁve pounds and you had to do all the overlays. I couldn’t go to America and photograph Miles Davis. And also, record covers at that time were drawings and things. They were not like they are now.
How did you make the transition from advertising to becoming an art director at magazines like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and Vogue?
I was working in advertising agencies doing graphics and photography. I was doing layouts and I needed to take pictures or do drawings for a layout, so I was combining the two. I would commission a photograph after I had done a picture for the rough and they would say, “Why have you got someone else to do a picture you’ve already done?” I was interested in graphic design; it was my main passion. In 1962, the graphics in magazines were better than advertising. Before that, advertising was quite good. There was Town and Queen—all these magazines were doing very good graphics, so if you were interested in graphic design you thought well maybe I should work it out in magazines, not in advertising.
Do you consider yourself a designer ﬁrst and photographer second?
I’m a graphic designer who takes photographs rather than a photographer who does graphic design. I started with photography and graphic design at the same time. It’s good for you because you have an idea of what happens to your picture once you’ve taken it. I’m more inﬂuenced by graphic design and painting than photography, all that De Stijl movement and the Bauhaus and all the painters involved with it.
Anyone in particular who inﬂuenced you?
Mondrian, Matisse, and Rodchenko. He [Rodchenko] couldn’t stand just to photograph someone straight on, which I ﬁnd interesting in its way. The graphic image he produced was as important as the image he was reproducing. It must have been exciting to work in the 60s as the
Sexual Revolution took ﬂight. I suppose it was exciting, but maybe it’s an exciting time now. You don’t know until later, really. Even in the 60s you didn’t understand it was as exciting as it looks now. I think I [shot] the ﬁrst nipple [to appear] in a calendar in 1968. That was the beginning of a sort of freedom, the idea that you didn’t have to get married, you could live with somebody. It was a real break from the 50s in England.
The “nip slip” to which you refer happened on your ﬁrst Pirelli calendar shoot in Tunisia, right?
Yes, but it came naturally. I mean she didn’t have any clothes on. It’s just that I cropped somewhere where her nipple showed, that’s all. There’s a girl in a white t-shirt [in another photo], who was a friend, and through the t-shirt you see a black triangle, and they retouched it out. So it wasn’t that free even then, not for Pirelli anyway. Then, of course, a little bit later you could do complete nudes. Then it was, ‘If it hasn’t got nipples and crotches, then it’s not worth doing!’ There was no money when I did our Pirelli calendar. We didn’t have a hairdresser or a makeup artist, nothing. In America I didn’t even have models! I just used girls on the beach.
Why did you choose California as the location for the 1969 edition of the calendar?
I had been there two years before working on a ﬁlm called Chappaqua and there were beautiful girls everywhere. I couldn’t believe it. When we ﬁnished the one in Tunisia I said, Oh, why don’t we go to California and just do it on the beach? So I talked them into it. Everything you ever read says the calendar was shot in Big Sur but it wasn’t. I did go to Big Sur to see William Burroughs before the shoot and I think that’s where the rumor got started. Anyway, it was shot around Los Angeles, Venice Beach mainly.
How did you ﬁnd the girls?
When I was working on Chappaqua there were thousands of girls, but when we went there for the calendar there were none around because it was the school holidays. There were enough girls but quite difﬁcult. And if you look, they’re the same ones. It’s just a little group we got to know. I bet a lot of them don’t even know they’re in the Pirelli calendar. I mean where would they ever see one? They’re just girls on the beach in ’68. You take their pictures and then you go away and they don’t even know if you were genuine or not.
You mentioned working on Chappaqua. Did you do a lot of ﬁlm work?
I used to do art direction and camera work and directing, but commercials, not movies. I worked for this Chappaqua ﬁlm, but I worked mainly on the graphics for the titles and trailers, and for Alﬁe and a couple of others. Chappaqua was an incredibly wellmade ﬁ lm, and it had the biggest expense for special effects. You could do it at home now on your computer. But then it was really expensive to do these things, and it was incredible.
Chappaqua featured a lot of members of the Beat Generation, like William Burroughs, whom you met during production. Were you part of the Beats?
Everyone was in it—Allen Ginsberg and Burroughs, Ravi Shankar, Grateful Dead. I spent six months in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hotel and had nothing to do because the ﬁlm came from Paris and was stopped at customs in America. It took weeks and weeks before they freed it. I used to go out with everyone and every Thursday I used to have a party in my room because I had expenses to get rid of. I was friends with people from Buddha Records so they would come and then maybe just the girl from the reception. Sometimes there were musicians.
Did you jam with anybody famous?
I played with the Mamas and the Papas. There were lots of groups all just wandering around stoned saying, ‘You’re free. Come play.’ I did recordings with the Lovin’ Spoonful, too.
Tell me about your experience as art director at Nova, dubbed “the new kind of magazine for a new kind of woman.”
NOVA was an incredibly good idea. It was an experiment to ﬁnd out if there was a market for intelligent women because it was the beginning, I suppose, of women’s liberation, so you didn’t have to give a knitting pattern. The idea was to have the best women writers like Germaine Greer and Irma Kurtz, and write about women’s problems. The good thing is nobody was interested in it from the management, so you could do crazy things.
You even bought photos of a woman giving birth.
They didn’t want to do it. I bought the pictures without authority and you couldn’t buy a copy. It sold out within 10 minutes! In those days it was really quite a shock to see something like that.
You also made bold choices with the design of the magazine.
There was a lot of quite good graphic design around at that time. And you could do silly things like leave white space and put a big picture. You could do a double-page spread of a hand then if you wanted to. It was an experimental ground for graphic design. Graphic design was still in touch with the Bauhaus and the De Stijl, so all that sort of wild typography was in young graphic designers’ eyes.
What do you think of graphic design today?
If you open a normal magazine the quality of advertising is atrocious in a graphic design sense. The people doing it are not graphic designers; they’re just people who have a computer, really. Before it was talent that got you into art school, now lots of people want to go because it might be a nice idea but not because they’re passionate about graphic design or because they’re passionate about painting.
How did you end up covering the Vietnam War?
I was at an editorial meeting and I said I would be interested in going to Vietnam. I wanted to know what was really going on because I’m an addict for reading newspapers and things. I stupidly said it, and I didn’t think anything about it. Then, the editor Dennis Hackett later said, ‘We’re getting you a ticket.’
What was that experience like?
It was real stupidity. I was doing a thing on Medevac, which was where a helicopter goes in to pick up people that are wounded. The Americans had special hospitals and the Vietnamese had to go to the normal hospital for everyone else. There were people with TB and everything else. It was an absolute nightmare. It was ﬁlthy and nasty. I was helping someone into an airplane, who got shot while I was helping him in. There were piles of bodies, and people lying on top wrapped up in body bags with tied-up string, and then people who were wounded lying on top of them. I would never go near a war, ever again. I am completely anti-war.
You were among the ﬁrst to use black models in fashion photography. Why was it important to you to help break through that barrier?
If a girl is beautiful, whether she’s black or white or whatever color she may be, I don’t see any difference at all. I was completely anti racial nonsense. Several times I asked to use some model who I liked a lot, who was black, and they’d give me really bad reasons like ‘Advertisers wouldn’t advertise,’ so at Nova I used to overdo it and I got into trouble a bit. They would say, ‘Don’t you ever use white models? What are you
trying to do?’
A lot of the models were your friends, right?
Yeah, I always used friends. At that time, editorially, I would never use a male model just because I don’t like male models. I like female models.
How would you describe your style?
I don’t know that I have a style. I’m probably a bit more closeup, or I used to be. I was always thinking graphically, to ﬁll the screen. I didn’t like loose space hovering around the edge at that time, and then I was called “Mr. Close-up.”
One of your signatures is close-ups of brightly painted lips, sometimes smoking.
In one series of photographs, a model manages to smoke and eat at the same time. That was a politically pointed thing. I was pissed off with the fact that people were smoking between mouthfuls. I actually saw it happening. I really hated it so much. But it was very common at the time.
You also have lots of shots of pert nipples.
They were not sexual pictures. I mean, they just took their clothes off. Sometimes you’d stand around for a bit if she had a
knicker line or a bra line, but very often they still show because I didn’t retouch them or anything, so they’re as they are mostly. Sometimes you make ‘em a little artier but apart from that…
You encouraged women to let their hair grow in one of your photo spreads for Nova.
I took a photograph of a crotch and it’s a double -page spread. I told the editor it was an underarm, and it says ‘Keep your hair on,’ or something like that. I always said I like girls with hair under their arms. I’m from the old-school Italian.
And judging by the length of your beard, the same rules apply for men.
I just grow a beard because I don’t want to shave!
How do you make women feel so comfortable enough to pose nude?
Maybe I’m no threat. Who knows? Now I’m like their grandfather, whereas then there was some rapport between us. I don’t even realize I look 90 years old but obviously to them I could imagine I’m a sort of ogre taking their picture. A lot of the people I’ve taken pictures of I know very well. Now I don’t have a friend who’s a model. Or they’re just too old to take their clothes off!
A couple of years ago, you released a book, H.P., which offers a look at your work over the last several decades. What are some of your favorite images from your career?
I have a favorite fashion picture, which is not actually a fashion picture: a girl in Africa wandering along who was so elegant and beautiful. I remember taking [photographs of] birds ﬂying. Things like that stick in my mind. I still like the pictures. They’re not great or anything but it’s something that gave me incredible pleasure at the time.
How do you manage to take erotic photos while steering clear of the pandering category?
I consider it just like Picasso, drawing nudes in my head. I wasn’t doing pornography at all, but my son says, ‘You’re known as a pornographer. All you do is take pictures of nude girls,’ which is not actually true. If someone has an idea to do some nude pictures or something, they often ask me, which I don’t mind. I like nude girls. I like them with clothes, without clothes, however they come. I don’t even think of my pictures
as erotic. Sensual perhaps, but I’m not looking for absolute crudity. I don’t like it, even. Really crude pictures I don’t think I could do.
What always shines through in your photos is that you love women.
I don’t necessarily make them look beautiful, which is something else. I’m not very good at that. I can make them look
as they are. I don’t have a skill for making them look really beautiful.
Is there anybody you want to shoot that you haven’t?
I think Kate Moss is great but I’ve never taken her picture. There’s something about her that looks natural all the time, which I quite like. I likemodels that don’t look too much like models. She does, but she doesn’t. And I’m sure it doesn’t matter how you take her picture, she’s going to look great. You don’t need to be a wizard.
What’s next for you?
I think it’s just going to roll on. I have thousands of transparencies I haven’t sorted through that I’ll try to.
Finally, why do you think your images appeal to men and women alike?
I have no idea. You have to catch yourself, and then if other people like it, that’s okay.