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Justin's Birds of Barnes

Part 2: Self confidence

What gave you the confidence to feel that you could to do this? It’s quite a lot to undertake isn’t it?

I came from a background of pugilism and gangsters - I’d been a professional boxer and stuff - so I wasn’t frightened to do things. The only person that ever frightened me was the taxman, but otherwise it was a great big giggle. I certainly wasn’t anxious about investing in a studio; I knew that if it didn’t work another photographer could take over the space. But I enjoyed it, and we knew from the first picture we were ok, because it went onto the cover of a glossy magazine, and from then on every other picture I took seemed to find its way onto a magazine cover - even when it wasn’t intended.

Of course I was very privileged to be in a position to pick and choose the pictures I took. I was an entrepreneur and manager, and one of my clients was Olivia Hussey who had just starred in Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet. So it became easier. I had a friend living along the road, a beautiful girl called Marsha Hunt who was starring in a new production of Hair. Vogue took the picture and put it onto a centre page spread. It was also my idea to photograph David Bowie as the first man to appear on the cover of Vogue. So I went to Paris where David was recording his album, but when he saw the picture he wanted it for the cover of 'Pin-Ups' so I scrapped the idea of putting it on Vogue - and a good thing I did.

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