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.”
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