A Day with Andy
Stern Magazine of Germany – the German LIFE Magazine – assigned me to photograph Andy Warhol at his Factory Studio. I was accompanied by a Stern reporter. Andy was as quiet as he was cooperative. Here was the legend and I was as curious as ever to understand the man who masterfully created his image and practically invented the genre, “The Pope of Pop”.
I wanted to produce a cover image for Stern, and my concept was to photograph Andy 36 times, one roll of Black and White film. With each 6 frames, he would rotate his upper body 15 degrees from face on to the camera, to in the last set of 6, full profile. Andy was holding a sign I made, a montage of Stern Magazine and his own “Interview” Magazine that said, “Stern Magazine Interview”. When I explained to him what I wanted he shot me the ever so subtle twinkle of an eye. The 36 frames would fill an entire Proof Sheet that would become a cover “shot”. Never had a subject held so perfectly still and without batting an eyelash, ever.
For my next image, I wanted the icon of stylized portraits to hold a sign that said, “Portrait” and I gave Andy my marker and some paper. This time his twinkle of the eye was not in the least bit subtle.
Andy wrote “Portrait” studied it, then crumpled it, and began again. The third try suited him and our collaboration was near complete.
Andy was a master of staying in character, keeping a focused eye, his enigmatic gaze to my camera, and after shooting about a dozen Kodachrome’s, we were finished with that concept.
After I packed up and got ready to leave, I sensed that Andy was not a “hand shaker.” I told him it was an honor and pleasure to work with him and he replied, “thank you, you will have fun with those images.”
I couldn’t know that two-years later Andy would pass and TIME Magazine would choose my image for his obituary.
Mark Greenberg Andy Warhol December 1985