8/17/11 Remembering st. Martin’s Lane, London.


I didn’t really want to go to London for the press tour. I was tired of answering the same questions about photographing my sex life with a handheld digital camera. At the time digital cameras were relatively new, on the brink of becoming mainstream. It was the first digital photography book published. .The questions were boring, and on the rare occasion that a question made me think a little, I could be sure that part wouldn’t be used. I was very broke, and over it. Too young to know that I could keep receipts and turn them in as expenses. Walking to most interviews cause cabs were too expensive. I was annoyed. I wasn’t getting royalties. Then, after a particularly disastrous cover story of the New York Observer where all of my comments were taken out of context, I started filming my interviews. I mostly just wanted footage of myself so I could see how I came off to others. That’s when the balance of power started to shift. When the journalists turned on their camera I turned on mine. The articles got better. Some actually sent me the article to read before publication –which was a first. Others contacted me to retract something they said that they were worried about for some reason. Maybe the articles got better because I was having more fun.

 With pink eye and the flu, I got to London for a week of interviews. One was to be a cover story. The publicist knew my basic rules: no one can watch me shoot, under any circumstance. Those are private moments. Also, I won’t model for anyone. We even ended up canceling a Vanity Fair piece. They wanted to photograph me for their “most influential people” issue. I insisted on taking my own self-portraits. The story was canceled.

So I arrive at this Philippe Stark Hotel for what I thought was an interview and a snap shot. Then I see the rack of fetish clothing, a stylist, makeup artist, a person with clipboard and a scruffy pudgy man with bad shoes, confused beard, pushing 60. I realize this is the photographer. Yuck.

I call New York. I’m not doing it. I don’t pose, no pinup. I don’t care. Doll me up, leave the clothes and I’ll shoot my own pictures thank you. Oh, my camera resolution isn’t high enough? Well, I cant afford a new camera. I cant even pay rent. Fine, you shoot the cover and I shoot the rest. Deal.

I suffer and pose in a series of cliché positions, listening to the macho asshole photographer grunt and give orders hidden behind his big camera and long lens.

At last they all leave, and then the fun begins. I order a bottle of Jim Beam a turkey club –extra Dijon- and some Marlboro Lights (this is way back, before science, before genetics and learning about the P52 cancer suppressor gene that is directly targeted by nicotine).

Anyways, I’m shooting self portraits all over the room. I indulge in all the expensive latex gear. Bath, window ledge, bed with only hooker heels. Eventually it gets lonely. I call my friend, he is dating Steve Mcqueen. They come over. The scene is funny. They have a drink. I keep shooting.

The next day I bring the images to the magazine. They love them. The spread will be 6 pages. The editor is amused that I kicked out the photographer. When the others leave the room he tells me that the cover image sucks and that I should’ve insisted on shooting it all myself.