Skip to main content

Confessions of a 1960s rock ‘n’ roll photographer

“As a young photographer, I captured rock legend Frank Zappa sitting on the toilet. The photographs were for an article in the Independent Times. The images were an instant success, and the lead image became one of the greatest-selling posters of rock ‘n roll history.”
Robert Davidson

Frank Zappa print signed by Robert Davidson

Frank Zappa print, signed by photographer Robert Davidson

Frank Zappa on the Krappa – An iconic image is born

The image was considered groundbreaking, and achieved international fame almost overnight. The proliferation of the unconventional image, with poster reproductions reaching into the millions, propelled this intimate portrait of Frank Zappa into the fabric of pop culture. During an interview in 1983, Frank said “I’m probably more famous for sitting on the toilet than for anything else that I do”.

From London to the USA: the hunt for the missing negatives

From record executives flexing muscle in the 1960s to the bitter Zappa family feud that continues to this day, hear how this Dundee photographer was forced to part with his negatives just three months after they were made…

Frank Zappa - toilet photographs - 1967 © Robert Davidson

Contact sheet – Frank Zappa
Photography: Robert Davidson © 1967

…And, learn how they eventually came back into his possession, almost half a century later.

Zappa images returned to photographer 48 years later

The search for the missing Zappa negatives finally ended in 2015, after the death of Frank’s manager, Herb Cohen. Now, Robert Davidson has regained control of his images and has created new, limited edition prints of his original poster for sale. And he is ready to tell his story.

Illustrated talks with photographer Robert Davidson

Robert Davidson gives illustrated slideshow talks, including ‘I Shot Frank Zappa: Confessions of a 1960s rock ‘n’ roll photographer‘ at venues across the South of England. If you would like to invite Robert to give a talk, please get in touch.

"I Shot Frank Zappa" poster Robert Davidson © 2016

Poster for a previous “I Shot Frank Zappa” talk by photographer Robert Davidson, held in November 2016

Bring 'I Shot Frank Zappa: Confessions of 1960s rock 'n' roll photographer Robert Davidson' to a venue near you! Get in touch

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