The Canon Professional Network** has published an article featuring fashion and beauty photographer John Swannell. It it, Swannell recounts a story of a bag he purchased from a thrift store for a couple of pounds.
We pause to reflect on Helmut Newton, an abrasive character to many, but to Swannell a bit of a diamond in the rough. “I once spent four days with Helmut on a shoot in the south of France and he took a shine to my camera bag.”From Canon Professional Network.
“I’d found the bag in a charity shop in London for a couple of quid and really loved it because it had lots of pockets. But Helmut wanted it and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He kept on offering me money for it during the shoot and went up to $500 and still I wouldn’t sell it to him.”
Swannell laughs at the recollection: “This made him really grumpy with me and on the last day, as we were walking across the tarmac to board the aircraft, he turned round to me and said ‘there must be something of mine you want, I have to have that bag!’ so I replied ‘OK, sign me a print from the cover of your book White Women’ and you can have it. He said ‘you must be mad, that’s about $3000!’
“He was so mean, was Newton, and wouldn’t have it. But I held my ground and said that was the price of the bag. And then suddenly, in front of everybody, he took my bag off me and tipped all my stuff onto the tarmac, and marched off with it. I turned to his wife Alice [Springs] and said ‘you are my witness!’ And a few days later, a signed print arrived. Ten years later I sold that print for £32,000. So that old bag wasn’t a bad investment...”
** Because the gallery showcase images featured in this article contain nudity, we have chosen not to link directly to the article.