Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Lewis Morley (1925 – 2013)

with 10 comments

Lewis Morley, one half of an iconic spread, is dead, aged 88.

20130916-190048.jpg

It is often said that the pill and Lady Chatterley’s Love made the permissive society. Alas, the sexual revolution also got its fair share of help from indiscretions of John Profumo, a Tory government minister, for no matter what unflappable judges declared over the previous decade, the Profumo Affair proved otherwise with its steamy reveals about the lives of stiff-upper-lipped establishment types.

While it was a more forgiving age where even the most public of individuals — from Edward VIII to John Kennedy to Labour’s own leader Hugh Gaitskell — could rely on the press to overlook their indiscretions, it was Profumo’s misfortune to become entangled with a call girl named Christine Keeler, who might be also seeing a Russian spy. Revealed alongside were salacious tales of demimondaine brothels, lavish parties, two-way mirrors, and rumors about a naked, masked, and illustrious male “host” whose identity was never revealed. It was a watershed moment for both the British politics and British political reporting.

Ms. Keeler posed famously for Lewis Morley, a famed chronicler of the Swinging Sixties. Morley cleared the studio and turned his back so that Keeler could undress, suggesting she sit astride the chair so the back would shield her. As the 30-minute shoot which burnt up 120 rolls of film was coming to end, Morley turned away, only to notice Keeler “in a perfect position”. The most amours photo was literally the last shot

Morley did not have fond memories of the day. “I never found her sexy,” he said. “She reminded me too much of Vera Lynn!” And as he came to resent its overshadowing of his other work, he called it “that fucking Keeler shot” and parodied it by photographing himself in the same pose with a millstone around his neck. He however signed the chair — a thinly-masked Arne Jacobsen copy — and sold it to the V&A while the National Portrait Gallery bought all original photos.

20130916-192054.jpg

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

September 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm

10 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Morley did not shoot 120 rolls of film. He was using a medium format sized film known as 120.

    Jeffrey Loughlin

    September 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    • You beat me too it :)
      I looked at those numbers and thought: No way, they must mean the 120 format.
      (which is proven by the contact sheet.)

      martaze

      September 16, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      • PS: who is Vera Lynn?

        martaze

        September 16, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      • She was a very popular singer in Britain during WW2, patriotic, morale-boosting stuff, not really a sex symbol

        PS- thanks for this blog, I love seeing these pix with the background info

        Eva

        September 18, 2013 at 2:20 am

  2. thanks for the reply Eva, I looked up Vera Lynn,and I agree with you — not a sex symbol. I don’t think she’s even pretty.
    Maybe Morley liked a different type, but Keeler –at least in that photo– looks like a knockout.

    martaze

    September 18, 2013 at 2:50 am

  3. Reblogueó esto en Formas de representar.

    emilioamella

    October 13, 2013 at 11:37 pm

  4. […] Source: Iconicphotos […]

  5. […] and Bert Stern, two of the last men to photograph Marilyn Monroe; Lee Tanner, a bard of jazz age; Lewis Morley, the man who immortalized the Profumo Scandal; Jack Mitchell, whose Nov 1980 photo of John and Yoko […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,307 other followers

%d bloggers like this: