On the two occasions that I have had the pleasure of meeting with John, I have been captivated by his elegant style, and charming personality; he truly is the epitome of an English gentleman, but with the refreshing candour you might expect of a lad from Liverpool.
Having previously worked for Vogue, Harper’s, EMI and Virgin during his heyday, John has a reputation for being one of the best photographers of the 1980’s. He is often credited for the ‘return of glamour to popular culture’.
A notoriously fast photographer, John has a preference for working with film as opposed to digital, and has compared using a film camera to driving an Aston Martin. Judging from his large collection of beautiful, old cameras John is obviously passionate about image making and the photography process.
John is always very forthcoming when discussing his interest in erotic imagery, and below are just a few snippets from our dialogue, which can be read in full, along with his photographs of Playmate of the Year 1973, Marilyn Cole.
After such an extensive, and successful, career as a photographer of celebrities (often in a state of undress), what is it that first interested you about working in this space?
I love photography, I love women BINGO!!!!
How did you first get involved with what was to become the lad’s mag phenomenon?
I was in the right place at the right time, then, after a few years, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time!! They had become ridiculous, not sexy, not erotic, boring magazines for boys trying to be men.
Do you think that there is an assumption that only young people should be used to express sexuality and is this simply a consequence of the pervasive effect of the media’s capacity to idealise or stereotype?
Young people are beautiful, fact.
To what extent are your photographs an expression of your own sexual fantasies?
They are all about me!
John is currently exhibiting at Forman’s Smokehouse Gallery in London, and has published a book of his Polaroids. To see more of his work visit his website here.