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Hi, I’m Robert Davidson.

Robert Davidson avatar

I was a rock ‘n’ roll photographer during the 1960s. It was one of the most exciting times to be involved in the music business.

The Move 1966 © Robert Davidson Photography
Band members in corn field
Four band members, reflection in table

I have been taking photographs ever since.

My career has taken me all over the world. I have shot the famous and infamous, from druids, gurus and monks to actors, supermodels and the homeless. I have photographed children, animals, landscapes and flowers. I travelled to Bosnia during the early 1990s to document the Bosnian war.

However, the image for which I am best known is a photograph of Frank Zappa sitting on the toilet.

I took twelve photographs of Frank Zappa, of which ten remain. The images were an immediate success. In 1967, these intimate and unconventional portraits were considered groundbreaking.

Frank Zappa - Robert Davidson © 1967
Frank Zappa #3 1967 © Robert Davidson Photography

Frank Zappa ‘Zappa Krappa’ Toilet Poster

Robert Davidson Photography © 1967

Shortly after the shoot, I created the Frank Zappa Toilet Poster, or ‘Zappa Krappa’ as it became affectionately known to fans. One thousand copies were commissioned, for which I received no royalties. ‘Zappa Krappa’ went on to become one of the highest-selling posters in rock history. The popularity of the image propelled Zappa to icon status, leading him to say

“I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do.”

The image of Frank Zappa sitting on the toilet graced the walls and toilet doors of a generation. To many, the poster meant more than just a quirky portrait of a rock musician; it symbolised rebellion and rejection of the status quo. From Zappa fans and collectors of music memorabilia to hippies and civil rights activists, ownership of the poster was a statement of nonconformity.

Now, for the first time since 1967, official ‘Zappa Krappa’ posters are available to buy. Printed true to the original 1960s design, these are the only genuine, licensed reproductions of this poster.

I Shot Frank Zappa

Confessions of a rock ‘n’ roll photographer

‘I Shot Frank Zappa’ is the story of how I found myself in a hotel water closet with one of the world’s most influential rock musicians… And waited fifty years to sell my poster.

Read more: I Shot Frank Zappa

Illustrated talks

Slideshow reportage

Photographs capture a moment in time, preserving it for future generations. As a photographer, I have used my camera to document people, places and things that interest me, throughout my life.  But, no matter how revealing, images only tell a small part of any story – and the time has come to tell mine.

Now, I give illustrated talks, revealing the true stories behind the photographs. Talks include: ‘I Shot Frank Zappa: Confessions of a 1960s rock ‘n’ roll photographer‘ and ‘I Shot a Guru, a photographic documentary: Guru culture from the 1970s to the present day‘.

Photographic Documentary

Confessions of a photographer

I would love to make a film documentary. Afforded a certain degree of invisibility, a photographer has a unique fly-on-the-wall perspective to events as they unfold.

My experiences have taken me all over the world and into the lives of some fascinating characters.

Robert Davidson reveals the stories from behind the lens

A picture may be worth a thousand words but there are stories and secrets held within every photograph. Over the years, most of my negatives have been lost. Some were returned (Read the curious story of the Frank Zappa negatives) and some images have only been preserved with a scanner or digital camera but the stories remain and are ready for the telling!

If you make films and are interested in my project “Confessions of a Photographer”, please get in touch.

For enquiries about my photography, prints, talks or anything else, please send me a message.