Lou Reed RIP

Very sad to hear of the death of Lou Reed. I had the pleasure of taking his photo in 2007 for The Times, a bizarre but amazing experience. 

It was the most nervous I’d ever been before a shoot. Lou, as well as being a keen photographer himself, was renowned to be awkward at the best of times and it was no secret that he didn’t much like journalists and the interview process. True to form, on his eventual arrival, he refused to sit on the chair that I’d found and certainly wouldn’t sit crossed-leg on the floor as I also suggested. He told me he would remain standing and would only be shot from the waist up and also insisted that I count one, two then three when I click the shutter. This I did of course but it seemed unnecessary as he did not move or change expression in any way.

Me and Lou

Me and Lou

He also wanted to see each shot on the back of the camera so we ended up in a kind of creative stale-mate. One, two, three,  show Lou the picture, hmmm he doesn’t seem to like it much but won’t move or do anything, oh well, one, two, three, one, two, thee. After a few painfully long minutes doing this I think he must have sensed my stressful state or just realised it was worth making an effort to get a decent picture, so he changed into his stage gear for that nights performance, and adopted a bit of rock star attitude. One, two, three, click. I had the picture and once he’d seen it, I was suddenly in the company of a surprisingly friendly Lou Reed who wanted to talk cameras and agreed to have his picture taken with me while adopting what he called a RUN DMC pose. (This is now framed and proudly on show in my downstairs toilet).

Then straight back to grumpy mode, he made the nice lady interviewer cry, accusing her of not listening properly to his new album of ambient tai chi music. I didn’t care though, I was basking in the warm glow of  having bonded (for a few minutes) with a true rock legend.