Stories of Springsteen, Bowie as told by celeb photographer’s snaps

Photographer Terry O’Neill knew folks higher than he knew cameras.

“Terry had no interest in lights or physical equipment,” his longtime picture assistant Richard Pereira told The Post. “He engaged with the subject and pushed the button. Terry’s charm could be turned on like a faucet. It had a disarming effect.”

That got here in useful when he photographed high-profile topics from the Queen of England to Sean Connery to Led Zeppelin. Raised in East London and breaking out as a Fleet Street shooter in 1959, O’Neill, who handed away in 2019 at age 81, shot iconic, revealing portraits. Some are collected within the lately revealed “Terry O’Neill: Every Picture Tells a Story” (ACC Art Books).

Here are 4 O’Neill photographs that stand up to time.

Elizabeth Taylor David Bowie
Terry O’Neill

Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie

Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie have been actually an odd pairing, however the actress particularly requested that O’Neill introduce her to the singer in 1975, as Bowie was morphing into his “Thin White Duke” persona, It was beneath the auspices of Taylor wanting to debate a doable movie function for the theatrically-bent rock star.

“Terry arranged for a meeting at the home of [legendary film director] George Cukor,” mentioned Carrie Kania, artistic director of Iconic Images and an previous buddy of O’Neill’s. “Terry arrived early, Elizabeth was already there — and they waited four or five hours for David.”

Taylor was accustomed to being the one who saved folks ready, and he or she was aggravated. But as Bowie sauntered in, mentioned O’Neill within the e-book, “any anger was quickly dismissed and they laughed like old pals. And you can see in these photos, which Elizabeth overly directed, there was chemistry between them. [Bowie] didn’t get the role, if it was even on the table, but they did become lifelong friends.”

Faye Dunaway

O’Neill was assigned to cowl the 1977 Oscars for Newsweek and wanted to {photograph} Faye Dunaway, the Best Actress winner for her efficiency in “Network.” Rather than snapping Dunaway as she acquired the respect, mentioned O’Neill, his concept was “to capture that moment when the star wakes up and it dawns on them that, overnight, they’ve not only just become a star, but also a [potential future] millionaire. This is that moment of realization.”

Dunaway was instructed to return to the Beverly Hills Hotel pool in her pajamas, bereft of make-up, with the Oscar in hand. O’Neill had the breakfast tray and newspapers unfold out and ready.

The session took all of half-hour, however one thing actually clicked: Six years later, O’Neill and Dunaway married. Their tumultuous union, which lasted 4 years and produced a son, Liam, proved much less enduring than the now-classic picture. As Pereira recalled “Terry said it was a marriage that was not necessarily going to last.”

Bruce Springsteen
Terry O’Neill

Bruce Springsteen

Catching the Boss on the brink of stardom in 1975 — with a recent billboard for his breakout album looming within the distance — couldn’t have been higher deliberate. In reality, it wasn’t deliberate in any respect.

“Terry was driving to Tower Records on Sunset Strip and Bruce happened to be walking out,” Kania told The Post. Explaining that the rocker was there particularly to take a look at his billboard, she added, “Within 10 minutes Terry had a great photo of Springsteen during his make-or-break moment.”

Though O’Neill remembered Springsteen as “being quite happy someone noticed him,” assistant Pereira is just not stunned that the “someone” occurred to be O’Neill: “Terry was an opportunist. He saw things as they were and never got caught short on what to do. He may not have known Bruce at the moment, but he surely introduced himself and told Bruce to stand still below the billboard.”

George Harrison

George Harrison
Terry O’Neill

O’Neill first photographed the Beatles throughout their early days of being chased by manic followers. By the time Harrison posed alone in 1975, the previous mop-top was extra squire than rocker and their assembly spot was his British-countryside property — a basic English manor home with a music studio to rival Abbey Road.

Strolling the park-like grounds with Harrison, O’Neill zeroed in on a spot that conveyed serenity and affluence. Harrison sat on a bridge and, as O’Neill put it, “looked as Zen as anything, draped in this off-orange Hare Krishna wrap … When I looked up and saw the outline of this magical looking house behind him, I knew that this was going to be a stunner of a portrait.”

Even although Harrison was one of the most important stars on this planet, O’Neill wasn’t nervous. “Outside of the Queen,” mentioned Pereira, “Terry was never fazed by anyone on our shoots.”

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