Hi, I’m Robert Davidson and I was a rock ‘n’ roll photographer during the 1960s.
It was one of the most exciting times to be involved in the music scene. I have been taking photographs ever since.
Born in Dundee, I took early retirement aged seventeen. I went to live in Paris, where I met legendary Time Life photographer, Emil Cadoo. Two years later, I returned to London to pursue a life in photography. I worked for a number of portrait and fashion photographers, and took the first test shots of Twiggy.
The rock ‘n’ roll years
Around the same time, I became friends with Tony Secunda, manager of The Moody Blues, Procol Harum and The Move. As Secunda’s official photographer, I was privileged to take photographs of some of the most famous names in the business. These included The Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, David Bowie and Arthur Brown.
A photographic career spanning six decades, so far…
I have never stopped taking photographs. My career has taken me all over the world – or perhaps, I have taken my career all over the world. I’ve shot the famous and infamous: celebrities, gurus, druids and monks; supermodels and street dwellers. I have photographed animals, children, landscapes and flowers. I travelled to Bosnia during the early 1990s and documented the Bosnian war.
However, the work for which I am best known is a photograph of Frank Zappa sitting on the toilet.
I shot Frank Zappa
I took twelve shots of Frank in total, of which ten remain. The photographs were for an article in the International Times (Issue 18, August 31st – September 13th 1967). The lead image was made into a poster that became of the biggest-selling posters in rock ‘n’ roll history.
Find out how the Zappa negatives were taken just three months after the photographs were taken, why I earned nothing from the poster sales and how the negatives were returned almost half a century later…
Photographer reveals the stories behind the images
“A photographer is granted exclusive, behind-the-scenes access – to people as they truly are, and to history as it unfolds.”
Photographs capture moments in time, preserving them 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 out of retirement, I give illustrated talks revealing the stories and secrets from behind the camera. 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‘.
For enquiries about my photography, prints, talks or anything else, please send me a message!