Here is one more unpublished/unseen portrait. It is of the wonderful French actor Michael Lonsdale. This was taken in my last photo-shoot, so far, this year before the lockdown. When the world was a little different. It was an honour to have spent this glorious afternoon with this wonderful man.  Not only a gentleman, but also the oldest living #007 villain.

I travelled over to Monsieur Lonsdale’s gorgeous Paris apartment that had a staggering view of the Eiffel Tower.  To say I was thrilled whilst sat on the first flight to Paris to shoot Michael was an understatement.  There are not that many people left that I have a passion to photograph, but this shoot I was en route to was absolute one which I was.

"Dr Gotts you look similar to me when I was younger. You could have been Drax."

Not a speaker of the French language I had only seen Michael in English speaking movies and his face had popped up in to many great movies over the years.  I think #TheDayOfTheJackal was one of the earliest movies I watched along with #TheNameOfTheRose and #ChariotsofFire.  Of course not to forget playing the formidable Hugo Drax, the foe of #JamesBond, in #Moonraker.  But it was about 15 years ago when I watched the #StevenSpielberg powerful epic #Munich that I had an urge to take his portrait.  Unfortunately the opportunity never came up until the end of last year when I started planning my new exhibition when I realised Michael could be part of it.  This exhibition shall hopefully be happening at the end of October this year…if the world has changed back to one where exhibition can be enjoyed!?

I knew M.Lonsdale was a tall man, 6ft 1 (1.85m) and quite ‘stocky’.  So I was a little taken-aback when I arrived at his residence to see this fragile figure in a wheelchair. The sands of time are not kind to anyone and it had escaped me that a man 88 years old, who had been retired for a number of years, would look quite as delicate.

We sat and chatted over a drink before I set up.  I was fascinated to hear how his love for movies happened during World War II. The US army officers showed American films to the children, when his family were living in Morocco. It was also interesting to find out the job which he was most proud of was #SmileysPeople with his hero #AlecGuinness.

It was an honour to have spent this glorious afternoon with this wonderful man.  Not only a gentleman, but also the oldest living #007 villain.  Many many happy returns and bon anniversaire on your 89th birthday!!! 

#MichaelLonsdale #TheDayOfTheJackal #TheNameOfTheRose #ChariotsofFire #Moonraker #JamesBond #007 #Galileo #Enigma #SmileysPeople #TheRemainsofTheDay #JeffersonInParis #Ronin #Munich #GoyasGhost #OfGodsAndMen #photography #blackandwhitephotography #celebrityphotographer #AndyGotts #OneShotGotts #Paris 

In 1990 a shy young photographer grabbed the chance to shoot a wonderful actor. This was the snowball that became an avalanche.

The photo on the left, Stephen Fry, was the very first celebrity portrait I ever took. The photo on the right features a 19 year old fresh faced me holding my trusty Mamiya RB67.

The Archimedes Moment

“He is not a glamour photographer like Mario Testino for example, nor does he create scenarios and devise settings and single-moment dramas like Lord Snowdon. His forte is the absolutely direct black and white portrait, full-on, sometimes grainy and remorseless in the detailing of complexion, sometimes mischievously witty and unexpected, always completely unforgettable.” SF

In 1989 I embarked on the first of the 'new' qualifications that the government had pushed out. It had the very fancy title BTEC National Diploma in Design Photography, at the Norfolk College of Arts and Technology in the glorious metropolis called King's Lynn.

It was a little of a hotch-potch of a two year course. In year one we had to explore all avenues of photography; from landscape, to food, to documentary, to fine-art, to commercial, etc, etc, etc. I found it all interesting but nothing really floated my boat, nor sparked an interest that I would have to endure for all year two. In all honesty I was a hair's breadth away from throwing it all in, as the thought of spending an entire year in a subject my heart was not really into was stomach churning.

It was just at this junction in my college education that I learnt that the nations darling Stephen Fry was going to be visiting our humble college to hand out some diplomas and give a talk about AIDS awareness. Please bear in mind that the late 80's early 90's we lived in a different world. There was not satellite or cable television, nor did we have hundreds of terrestrial television stations to pursue...we had the choice of four! BBC1, BBC2, ITV or Channel 4, that was it. In this barren desert of entertainment Mr Fry was featured in three prime-time programs each week. The glorious Black Adder series,

A Bit of Fry and Laurie and the period comedy Jeeves and Wooster, with audiences over

20 million for each.

A Determined Little Fellow...

Through a little bit of digging I found out which college building, and room, Mr Fry would be giving his talk and Q & A. I found the adjoining room would be empty on that specific day and so my plan was hatched. In the same vein as the Jackal hunted Charles de Gaulle, I blagged my way into the arts block studios and prepared my space. I set up a seamless paper background, a studio flash, anchored by trusty Mamiya RB67 to a sturdy tripod, and then snuck into Mr Fry's talk and awaited the Q & A session.

Mr Fry entertained the bewitched crowds with many anecdotes, and the room was filled with glee and many chortles, then the moment came into view...the Q & A's. I had him all set in my sights and I patiently waited with my finger on the trigger. When I felt the moment was right I shot my hand up. Mr Fry smiled and nodded at me to ask my question. "Mr Fry, would you let me take your portrait? I've a camera all ready next-door."

My Fry's smile quickly went followed by an eye-roll and sigh. Through gritted teeth he uttered "Alright. Only if you can be quick." We adjourned to my makeshift studio next door.

He sat...

I took a deep breath.

Then I was given 90 seconds and I took 10 shots. This minute and a half is now a total blur. I cannot remember what I said to provoke the expressions and reactions I had in these 10 frames, but that was eureka moment. It was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and I knew celebrity portraits were the way for me.

On The Untrod Path

That is all it took. 90 seconds of kindness from Mr Fry shaped my career, and life, for the following thirty years. This fortuitous event started my way on a path that took me from Norfolk to Hollywood. I have been blessed enough to have worked with countless actors, musicians and beautiful people. But for me personally there is one part of this anecdote that I hold very dear. After all these years have passed I still count Mr Fry as a friend.

Eternally thankful.

My unseen archive portrait for today is #Oscar winner actor, Jason Bourne action man and all-round good egg #MattDamon.

Matt is as lovely as you want him to be and luckily I have been in his company a few times. It’s a funny old world in the life of ‘actors’ as the community is surprisingly small and most people have mutual friends that you happen by. Ive loved watching Matt in all his escapades (maybe not so much in #TheGreatWall), but without doubt The Martian has been one of my favourites.

I think it's not just his character as someone abandoned with virtually no hope of survival, just making the most to make things work and keeping spirits up. You don’t have to be on Mars to have similar feelings, especially in the current times we are living through. #StaySafe

#TheRainmaker #GoodWillHunting #SavingPrivateRyan #TheTalentedMrRipley #TheLegendOfBaggerVance #OceansEleven #TheBourneIdentity #Syriana #TheDeparted #TheGoodShepherd #TheInformant#Invictus #Interstellar #TheMonumentsMen #TheMartian #JasonBourne #LeMans66 #photography #CelebrityPhotographer #AndyGotts #OneShotGotts #30thAnniversary