The History of 'The Profumo Affair' Chair

The History of 'The Profumo Affair' Chair

Gregory Han
Feb 12, 2009

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The Victoria and Albert Museum has a fascinating look back at one of the most famous photographs of the 1960's, revealing some juicy tidbits of information, alongside additional photos of the Christine Keeler and Arne Jacobson knock-off collaboration (the cut out of the back a ploy to avoid the legalities of copyright); some of you might also remember the past NY Times article about the titillating image after John Profumo's passing, but the V&A piece gives some additional fascinating insight into how the legend was created. More images and excerpts below...
"...at this point that the film producers who were in attendance demanded she strip for some nude photos. Christine was reluctant to do so, but the producers insisted, saying that it was written in her contract. The situation became rather tense and reached an impasse. I suggested that everyone, including my assistant leave the studio. I turned my back to Christine, telling her to disrobe, sit back to front on the chair. She was now nude, fulfilling the conditions of the contract, but was at the same time hidden."

'We repeated some of the poses used on the previous two rolls of film. I rapidly exposed some fresh positions, some angled from the side and a few slightly looking down. I felt that I had had shot enough and took a couple of paces back. Looking up, I saw what appeared to be a perfect positioning. I released the shutter one more time, in fact, it was the last exposure on the roll of film. Looking at the contact sheet, one can see that this image is smaller than the rest because I had stepped back. It was this pose that became the first published and most used image. The nude session had taken less than five minutes to complete. It wasn't until I developed the film that I discovered that somehow I had misfired one shot and there were only eleven images on a twelve exposure film. How this came about is a mystery to me."

via A Modern Icon

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