Behind the Scenes of Albert Watson’s First Ever Shoot with Kate Moss

By Irene Gonzalez

A lbert Watson is arguably one of the world’s most successful fashion and commercial photographers. His powerful images have covered more than 100 editions of Vogue and many other publications such as Rolling Stone. Born in Scotland in 1942, Watson studied graphic design as an undergraduate before moving onto Film and Television at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1970, he moved to the United States with his wife, where he established himself as a photographer. He photographed his first celebrity, Alfred Hitchcock, in 1973 for Harper’s Bazaar. This image was a turning point in his career consecrating him as one of the most sought after portrait photographers of our time.

Albert Watson, Kate Moss, Marrakech (Contact), 1993.Estimate: £18,000–23,000.

Two stunning works by the Scottish photographer are included in our sale, Fashion Photographs Online: A Capsule Collection; Kate Moss, Marrakech (Contact), 1993 and Kate Moss in Torn Veil, Marrakech, 1993. These works are the product of an iconic day, the 16th of January, 1993 in Marrakech. After shooting continuously for fourteen hours with the up-and-coming model, Kate Moss told Watson it was her 19th birthday. The photographer was not only impressed by her strong work ethic but also how this young model knew how to behave in front of the camera. He remembers mentioning, ‘you look like a wood nymph or a fairy in the woods’.

These photographs were taken as part of an editorial shoot for German Vogue focusing on beauty and skin. For this reason, Watson decided to photograph the model nude in natural evening light, as can be seen in Kate Moss, Marrakech (Contact), 1993. The warm afternoon sun illuminated Moss smoothly and complimented the essence of the shoot with her minimal make up and freed hair. The nature of the model is perfectly portrayed across the whole series thanks to the photographer’s simple yet extraordinary approach to the medium.

Albert Watson, Kate Moss in Torn Veil, Marrakech , 1993. Estimate: £10,000–15,000.

A big part of Watson’s practice involves celebrities and other well-known individuals, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Steve Jobs and David Bowie, who many times might already be biased in the public eye. For this reason, he stresses the need to entail a good relationship with the subject in order for their true character and personality to shine through. In Kate Moss in Torn Veil, Marrakech, 1993 this notion of confidence between Moss and the photographer becomes quite clear. Her intense yet candid look at the lens captivates the viewer in this simple and beautiful shot.

As a result the works belonging to this series have become some of Watson’s most iconic images and some of Moss’s favourite images of her. The unique artistic sensibility displayed by Watson in the subtlety of light and tone, and the fine line that Kate draws between vulnerability and an effortless sex appeal, mark important turning points in the careers of both the photographer and his muse.

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