Elton John 1978

Above: Elton John on his bed in Windsor, England, 1978. Credit: Chalkie Davies.

Come into my Bedroom

Liberal-feminist and The Guardian star columnist Suzanne Moore recently commented on a Chalkie Davies photo of Elton John from the late-1970s, "The kind of access he [Davies] had [was extraordinary] ... I like the picture of Elton John on the bed. It's impossible now to imagine Elton John saying [to a photographer] 'come into my bedroom' ... we don't get photography like that much now." Admittedly, Moore is not a photo-specialist--she is a general commentator on life-and-politics. But even with her non-specialist knowledge she might have noticed that the point she was making bears no scrutiny, and is actually wrong. The opposite is true: "Come into my bedroom," is the mantra of many celebrities today. Instagram offerings and TV documentaries usually begin with images made in the inner sanctum. For the celebrity of today, an invitation to "Come into my bedroom," is just automatic. So Moore's "we don't get photography like that much now," is quite incorrect as an observation. Now, in fact, there is nothing whatsoever remarkable about a photographer shooting a celebrity in their bedroom (in bed, not just on it) or in their bathroom ... the celebrity might be depicted in their underwear, or half-naked--all this is ordinary, expected even. Any such taboos about privacy-and-intimacy in celebrity photography were swept away long-ago.

(27 August 2018)