He is the artist who persuades hundreds, in fact thousands to strip naked in the name of art. In Mexico he had the pleasure of 18 000 muses ( beat that Picasso). The brief was to photograph Spencer in situ with his naked people and think about a possible cover shot. Fat Chance! Despite much wrangling with PRs and Spencer himself, the fact was he simply didn’t want to be photographed in a way that had him manipulating his own volunteers for publicity. Fair enough really. I knew nothing I could say was going to make him change his mind, he was a nice guy and I respected his views so I relaxed and got on with the other part of the assignment which was to photograph some of the volunteers. We did them in situ (and later at home) to find out what motivated them. There was this amazing, buoyant euphoric atmosphere that comes I guess when you have 850 people stripping naked and painting themselves bright colours. Anyway, as I photographed the group I thought if I could get them to call out Spencer’s name he might just take part. One very loud “SPENCER”! later and he, much to my amazement, strolls over and joins us, all be it for only a couple of minutes.
The lesson here I guess, is to relax. I realised he felt ok because he had been invited but this was a relatively rare event and I cannot find him anywhere else, online, doing this kind of shot. Anyway after all that the Pope got the cover. Typical! But here are some shots: