Alexander McQueen with Skull and Cigarettes

Alexander McQueen with skull and cigarettes, Tim Walker, 2009

 
 

I would never enforce something on a sitter in a portrait. The portrait of Alexander McQueen was one of the first that really taught me that: I had a very specific idea about him. Andy Hillman (the London-based set designer) had made a bow tie out of bones and a skull that was meant to fit on his head so that he became sandwiched between a skull and crossbones. But McQueen arrived and said, ‘I’m not wearing that skull on my head. No way. ‘I’m not doing that, but I love the skull and I love smoking. This is how it should be.’ Fags came out, fag went into skull, then he composed himself and said, ‘This is the picture.’

In a way that’s a gift because that photograph would be meaningless if he had just done what I’d told him to do – you wouldn’t learn anything about him. He lit up a cigarette, put a cigarette in the skull and put his finger in his mouth and gave that to the camera.

That picture then actually became more valuable because he died two weeks later. It becomes, in a way, a memento mori of a great talent. But even if he were still alive, you really feel his attitude.

Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/
Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/
Some content on this page was disabled on November 28, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Tim Walker. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/