For every photo you know, there’s likely to be at least a dozen other shots from that same moment. Such is the case with this iconic image of Faye Dunaway. “We met a few weeks before and struck up a friendship. She was the odds-on favourite to win an Oscar for her astonishing performance in Network and I knew that this type of opportunity would be rare and I was given the chance to create an image of a strikingly beautiful and immensely talented actress on the cusp of not only a careerdefining moment, but a life-changing event. “I somehow convinced Faye to agree. Again, these were the days before a dozen press agents would have gotten in the way. I mean no offence to the brilliant publicity teams that surround people today, but you know what I mean. This type of shot, which was spur of the moment by today’s standards, would not happen today. Not by a long shot. “In fact, a few years ago someone wanted to recreate this moment. I don’t remember who it was, but a known photographer. It was all called off because it just became too complicated to orchestrate. “That’s why this image works. It’s simple.”
As the legend goes, Terry convinced Faye to meet him by the pool at The Beverly Hills Hotel as early as possible the morning after the Academy Awards. True to her word, she appeared on time at the break of dawn having had barely a minute’s sleep. Terry charmed the staff to let them use the pool for an hour and while Terry scattered the morning’s papers at her feet, all trumpeting her success, Faye slunk in the chair and placed her golden statue on the table. And with a few snaps, an iconic image was born. “The other shots are just as interesting. I had her move around the table a bit, asked her to stand up, zoomed out so you could see the palm trees in the distance, and then reclined the chair so she could lie down. She even changed her wardrobe at one point, from her silk dressing gown to a sharp white suit. But I think we chose the right shot in the end. “I wanted to capture that moment, the morning after. The idea was to capture that moment when the star wakes up and it dawns on them that, overnight, they’ve not only just become a star, but also a millionaire. This is that moment of realisation.”
This photograph is available as a limited edition, fine art print available in several formats, including black and white, colour and a special co-signed edition signed by both Terry O’Neill and Faye Dunaway.
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