A Stamp or two from the album…

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Terence Stamp, 1967 © Rob Walls

In 1967, I was hired by UPI to shoot publicity stills for the John Schlesinger film of Thomas Hardy’s, Far From the Madding Crowd. Ten days of big budget movie promotion with Julie Christie, and Terence Stamp. A week of hard work and hard partying; dining on venison at Longleat with the Marquess of Bath, chartered trains to tour Hardy country, fine wines, unlimited Cuban cigars…and a brief to individually photograph a hundred invited journalists from all over the world, talking with the stars. Motor drives were just coming in but I had yet to afford one and shooting 30 rolls of Tri-X a day, I blistered my thumb on the milled wind lever of my Nikons.

Terence Stamp had just come back from filming a Western in Texas (Blue) for which he had had his hair bleached. In those days when grooming was considered an essential part of status, I couldn’t help think how scruffy he looked. He was just trend-setting. It would be a year or two before I adopted a more hippy style.  And in hindsight, he just looks so damned cool! Still does…

Terence Stamp in interviews for "Far From the Madding Crowd"

Terence Stamp in interviews for "Far From the Madding Crowd", © Rob Walls1967

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9 Comments

Filed under Australian, Autobiography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, portraits, Rob Walls, Stock photography

9 responses to “A Stamp or two from the album…

  1. ‘ on yer Robert, I enjoyed your blog and appreciate your views. You have always enjoyed photography and you live and breathe it.

    Digital technology is here to stay which is wonderful and for all those photographers who have embraced it like you I say this -:

    Enjoy it to its fullest – dance with it – laugh and create with it and feel good about the satisfaction it gives you because that is what matters more than anything.

    But making fun of, sneering at those of us who continue to use traditional cameras, photographic film and paper and still work in yellow lit darkrooms with chemicals because we enjoy it, says more about you than the technology or the end result. I type with two hands as do most women – and most men I observe don’t – why is that?

    Ps. Go fly a kite – and enjoy the feeling of the simplicity of the wind and a basic principle – wind – it is a very meditational experience.

    Bruce Hart – still using Olympus OM 1’s and a Rollei 35mm.

    • Hi Bruce…your comment prompted me to go back through my entries to see where I had actually sneered “at those of us who use traditional cameras”. I couldn’t find anything that even looked like sneering. The majority of pictures on my blog have been made on film. What I did find was that I wrote: “For this old photographer, digital photography is the best thing since sliced bread, as the cliche goes. Mind you, I also happen to think that unsliced wood-fired sourdough is better than sliced bread.”

      Warm regards…

  2. bruce hart

    Yes Robert, there was a cog missing in my memory bank. I was somewhat askew with my train of thought. Sorry about that. It was not the cameras you sneered at or being in the darkroom – but putting photographs on walls / in frames / and you made that point very often. My point was and still is -: The history of photography is in b/w and has very litttle, if anything to do with commercial photography. Beginning with A = Atget B = Bresson C = Callaghan we could probably continue all the way through the alphabet. My point was and still is – that how YOU use a camera bears no resemblance to what I do and never has done. Earning a living as a commercial photographer is a wonderful life if that is what you choose to do. And many of my students benefitted from my encouragement and became just that – hard working people earning a living with a camera. I supported them and often found them a place to begin. I hang my photographs on walls – either my own or in a gallery. That is what the history of the medium is all about and why galleries are always crowded when any of the old codgers are being shown. Personally, I was never interested in commercial photography and that is who I am. I apologise for my previous comments about sneering at cameras. But it was your sarcastic remarks about those of us who hung our images on walls that bothered me. And you did that often.That was a while back now so I wonder if you have changed? In the meantime go and look at Jurgen Schadeberg on Wikkipedia – he was my mentor and now old friend from 1976. He makes most of us look like amateurs.
    Ps. If you ever have the chance try and see “Shooting The Past” with Timothy Spall. It was made for TV in the UK but it could be on Dvd which is how we get to see so much.

    Always a pleasure,

    Bru

    • Hi Bruce, You just caught me before I head off for a month in Indonesia with Cassie. Still sweating from mowing the bottom paddock. A chore I promised Suzi I would do before we go. Promise fulfilled.

      I’m not sure I’ve enough time or space here to respond adequately. I don’t think you grasped the only point I was very clumsily trying to make i.e. that I perceived the pre-occcupation with the gallery wall as a distraction, that took a photographer away from the core business of making photographs. And for many the wall became the only form of expression, and a limited one at that. I listened to David Hurn make the point in 1968 that as a photographer if you have something to say, the best medium was not a gallery, it was the printed page. These days, its probably the internet. (I’m beginning to experiment with photo essays accompanied by a voice-over of the subject. Something I saw being used very effectively by the New York Times).

      By the way, A,B, and C (mentioned above) all worked at some time or other commercially to support their art. If by Bresson you mean HCB (and not director Luc Bresson), he shot corporate work for IBM (“Man and Machine”) and many others, movie production stills, and magazine assignments. You can work your way through the rest of the alphabet but those who have made their career entirely from the galleries, or made the gallery their sole outlet, will be few and far between.

      I would have to disagree with “That is what the history of the medium is all about…”. In most instances, the gallery wall is predominately a sidebar piece to commercial endeavour of some sort. I use the term commercial endeavour here in the broadest sense.

      Have I changed my views. Not really. In a year or two I will have my first exhibition. By then I will have been a photographer for 50 years. For me, that seems about the right balance.

      I’m pursuing my craft for what it is, in a changing world…and still finding delight in it. In the last six months I’ve driven something like the distance between Sydney and London and only scratched the surface of this continent. But I’m slowing down. It takes me longer to bounce back from trips like that. When I get back from Indonesia, I’ll be hitting the road again, driving from Melbourne to Perth. Who knows, along the way, I may be putting something together worthy of a gallery wall, or even a social document, but in the end that is a matter of only passing import.

      I saw “Shooting the Past” about five years ago. Loved it!. Oddly, I looked it up to see if it was available on DVD this very week.

      Would love to argue this further…especially face-to-face, but I’ve really got to go pack and get organised. We leave tomorrow…

      A warm hug from summery (at last) Tasmania…

      Rob

    • Hey Bruce, how are you? You were right about a lot of things! Let’s try and get in touch, it would be great to see you sometime

      Mike Hughes

  3. Mary

    Your photos of Terence Stamp are great. He is stunningly beautiful with the most piercing blue eyes. Thank you for posting them.

  4. Pingback: friday’s clippings 4/6/12 « A Growing Obsession

  5. I enjoyed your photos of Terence Stamp. Would love to see more of your photos of the actors in Far From the Madding Crowd, a movie I am feeling nostalgic about.
    Thank you!
    Diane

    • Thank you Diane. I think my pictures of Julie Christie are probably buried somewhere in the UPI archives. I do have fond memories of that MGM press photo trip. It was probably one of the last big budget Hollywood promotional junkets. More than 100 journalists from around the world being wined and dined for a week through Hardy country from Bath to Bristol. Chartered trains, Cuban cigars, fine wine, dining at Longleat with the Marquess of Bath. Ah! They don’t do PR like that these days.

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