Wednesday, 18 February 2009

What a gay day

I've had the gayest day today. First, meeting & photographing Bette Bourne this morning, then meeting and photographing April Ashley at the Festival Hall. I was also meant to photograph Peter Tatchell in the afternoon... but he was unfortuntately struck down with flu so we had to postpone our session.
Bette was such a nice bloke, very welcoming and happy to play around and do anything for my camera. I'd arrived 10 minutes early and he was still finishing off his morning toast. Unperturbed he had a happy smile on his face and a cheeky look in his eye. Soon he was donning his make up and creating what he called his 'Beethoven hair'. He lives just off the Portobello,a perfect location for his bohemian style.We messed around trying on differnet hats and I think I got a great image of him in his 'record hat' (a hat made out of a 12'' disc...actually it was probably an old 8'') He was very easy to talk to and listend well too and batted ideas back and forth, which made me feel good. Bette is famous for his Resident Alien about Quentin Crisp. I thought he was much more engaging than Quentin (I met him once) and certainly easier to photograph. Can't wait to see Resident Alien next month. Hope my pictiures turn out good.
April was very regal, what poise, what style, what a woman. She gave a talk at The RFH. Her life story is incredible, apart from the sex change this woman bedded Peter O'Toole & Omar Sharif in the same night...and with great dignity (beleive it!) Sharif never knew of her operation though O'Toole did but never told Sharif.
I was a bit of a paparazzi and snapped away and got a private session backstage though it's difficult to get 'great' photo's in this environment. As I said hello the look she exchanged and the smile and her kind words made an instant accolyte. She said'Do you mind if I just....' and gestured with an elegant hand, to the loo. I said 'Yeah sure, if you just do what you need to do...' and she said with a mischievous smile 'Yes I will , I always do'.
She inspired a protective devotion from her admirers and friends present and it's easy to see why. Seeing how people eresponded to her you could see she is true inspiration, especially trans gender people.
Afterwards she was mobbed by pretty boys, TV's TS's, queens young and old and she received us all with such feminine grace (now I know how Bowie got that lyric) Sorry I know I'm gushing but she really was AMAZING, no artifice, this was genuine regal fabulousness!
Thank youooo to the ever dashing & darling Rupert Smith for allowing me backstage to meet this legend.