Photographer Steve Wood never wanted to take Andy Warhol‘s portrait. A mutual friend – Elaine Kaufman of New York’s famous Elaine’s restaurant – introduced the pair and suggested they work together. Wood was unconvinced – busy photographing star guests at the 1981 Deauville Film Festival at the time, he had little interest in taking the iconic pop artist as his subject.
“It actually took a few days for me to agree to it,” Wood told us. “I’m not a huge fan of his work, but I was honest with him and said that I preferred more classical art – such as Van Gogh and the Impressionists.” The resulting series of pictures, lost to a dark drawer in Wood’s filming cabinet for the last 30 years, went on display as an exhibition entitled Lost and Found in New York.
“Andy was very easy to work with on the day and he put himself totally in my hands, so that I could work to my vision,” said Wood, who managed to incorporate his love of Van Gogh into the pictures by choosing a sunflower as the main prop. “With everybody I ever work with, I remove direct sunlight – and this was particularly important while shooting Andy as his skin tone could not take direct sunlight. I therefore suggested using the corridor of our hotel, the Royal Hotel in Deauville, which I had already checked had very soft lighting.”
“Andy was gentle and incredibly self-conscious. I believe that was how he always was. He was certainly conscious of his appearance, especially his hair and his hands.”