Further to my post about the Gucci Flora ad by Chris Cunningham, video director, I would like to tell you about my experience with him. I shot this image of Chris in 1998 – it was when he had just shot the Madonna ‘Frozen’ video (below) and was seriously smokin’ in the industry. This photo was originally for i-D magazine, but has subsequently been published in Surface, UK Vogue, and to this day, 11 years later, Chris continues to request it as a publicity shot. Recently, I’ve been talking to Chris about him using it as his official photo, as this image is the only one of himself he’s been really happy with.
It was a typically grey London morning when myself, my assistant (now my wife) and some equipment (my trusted Hasselblad 503 and Profoto 7B) turned up to shoot Chris at Black Dog Films, not knowing what to expect. Very charmingly, Chris came out to meet us on the street and took us inside. We had to set up in a backroom with just a plain, white wall as a backdrop. Not the most ideal circumstances for a brilliant portrait shoot, but nonetheless I persevered. The result you see here was all in camera, composed and framed there and then. A completely captured moment.
We spent the rest of the day hanging out with Chris, shooting pool in the offices and watching MTV. By the end of the day, he even showed us his latest video at the time, Aphex Twin’s ‘Windowlicker’, before its official release.
The message of this story? Despite the seemingly limited circumstances, never underestimate opportunities and always make the most of every chance. You never know where today’s ‘quick shoot’ may take you in the future and who you may meet along the way.
Madonna’s ‘Frozen’ video, from the ‘Ray of Light’ album, which you can buy here.