Some of these collections have come about because I went to a specific place to do a specific job. I show my personal work, not the job. In this case, I think you’ll like to see the job, too.
I’ve had the good luck to work on five Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues starting in 1965, then in 1967, 1970, and 1975. I got furious at how bad some of the layouts of the photos were and told them I wouldn’t work for them unless I got to approve the layout. Twenty years passed in which time they got along very nicely without me. In 1995 they had a special anniversary edition. I was asked back and went to Australia to shoot Elle McPherson. By then the layouts were all terrific and I was delighted to go.
I know this always sounds like a dream job and it is, in some ways. SI editor Jule (pronounced Julie) Campbell started the whole swimsuit concept, always picked the greatest models, and knew how to step back and let the photographer do their work (God Bless you Jule).
So it sounds like fun and games, and it is. But you have to factor in 3:30AM wakeup calls to get to locations, often by boat, equipment lost overboard, dropped into the sand, dropped onto rocks, or in my case, stepping on a sea urchin and losing three Nikon with lenses in the surf while photographing the wonderful Cheryl Tiegs.
I never got too far from the hotel. We were working with a large crew. The job always started at dawn and ended at dusk, with a major break in the middle of the day. Job in the morning, personal stuff in the middle of the day, job in the evening.
All the models were picked by Jule, who worked harder than anyone–finding the models, scouting for locations, getting the swimsuits, and God knows what else. The photographers were the beneficiaries of her judgements.
I never had a model who wasn’t tops in effort, responsibility, and endurance. Photographing these talented women was such a pleasant change from street shooting, where your subjects aren’t in the least interested (nor should they be) in your efforts.
These women were cooperative and made me look good. Not just by their beauty, but with hour after hour of hard work.
They did look good, too.