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Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman, Top of The Pops, London

Robert Davidson recalls the day in 1965 when he took this beautiful photograph of Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman:

In 1964, The Moody Blues released a soulful rendition of the Bessie Banks song, ‘Go Now’. The single was a success, reaching Number 1 in the UK Hit Parade in January 1965. They had been invited to perform on Top Of The Pops, so I was sent to take some pictures.

While this was all being set up, in the interim, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and the rest of the Rolling Stones were having a sound check. I took some pictures, but not of the whole band, due to the width of the studio. The lighting was extraordinary, because it was for TV. I was using my trusty Rolleiflex, a medium format camera with two and a quarter inch square negatives.

At that time if you did manage to get something printed in a magazine or paper, they never returned either the prints or the negatives. Subsequently, many of these pictures disappeared. And even though I wasn’t good on the marketing side, I was very good at taking pictures. Many of my best pictures were from that era. Part of me wanted to remain anonymous, yet another part wanted to make money. However, I wasn’t driven by that. I was driven by the thrill.

Most of the bands I knew had a life of fun, music and travelling. I got to travel with them and be part of their entourage, while at the same time being slightly distanced as well. This actually suited me fine. I find crowds difficult and don’t enjoy facing lots of people and being the centre of attention. I shy away from the spotlight. Photography works better for me. I can hide behind my camera. It was my shield, behind which I could do anything. 

Sometimes frightening myself with the risks I took with a camera, I would go that one step further. I had to be at the front seeing what was going on. In that sense, I felt invisible. Particularly, shooting on a Rolleiflex, I didn’t feel as though I was there. I was able to look down. Not having to behave like you would with a single lens reflex, looking straight into their eyes. With a Rolleiflex, you’re looking down into a box, you don’t have eye contact with the subject. They don’t feel that you’re taking a picture of them. It’s the ideal way of taking a picture, almost like a spy camera, but in plain sight. It doesn’t have a telephoto lens though, so you’ve got to get up close.

In this case, once again, I had gone that step further. Photography was not permitted in the television studios, and I found myself ushered outside, rather unceremoniously. Fortunately, on this occasion, the shots I had taken remained in my camera.”

This limited edition photograph is available to purchase in a range of sizes – click on the button below for info.

Frank Zappa by Robert Davidson 

Two years later, in the summer of 1967, the nineteen year old photographer was commissioned to shoot Frank Zappa in his London hotel room to promote an upcoming concert at the Royal Albert Hall. Zappa let him in upon arrival and proceeded to use the toilet. Robert seized the opportunity and immediately asked through the ajar door if he could take his picture on the throne – Zappa obliged.

This set of images, commonly known as the ‘Phi Zappa Krappa’ pictures almost immediately gained cult status, a sentiment echoed by Zappa himself in 1983, when stating, “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.” The proliferation of this unconventional image, with poster reproductions reaching into the millions, has propelled this intimate portrait of Zappa into the fabric of pop culture.

Fifty years on, Robert Davidson and his negatives were re-united. As a result, for the first time, Robert is able to offer signed limited edition photographs to collectors. 

VIEW THE ROBERT DAVIDSON PHI ZAPPA KRAPPA IMAGES
By |2018-09-10T11:09:56+00:00August 3rd, 2018|General News|Comments Off on Mick Jagger and Bill Wyman, Top of The Pops, London