Being a fashion photographer is a way of living. Watson lives in many worlds. Heir to the greats of fashion of the 50′s, his eye does not only look at beautiful bodies but is committed to other people who lack everything except a body. His stories from Africa are his way of staying in the real world.
Born in Scotland in 1942, he holds the record of having made more than 200 covers of Vogue around the world and 40 covers for Rolling Stone magazine since the mid-70s, photographing charismatic people. Photo District News named him one of the 20 most influential photographers of all time along with Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. He studied graphic design in laDuncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, and film and television at the Royal College of Art
With his wife he moved to Los Angeles in 1970 where he began to take pictures but mostly as a hobby. That same year, he was offered the job as an art director for a cosmetics company and they also offered him his first test session. The company bought two photographs from that session.
From then on, his career developed in all fields and he has created hundreds of successful advertising campaigns for major corporations, directed more than 500 television commercials and dozens of posters for major Hollywood movies like “Kill Bill”, “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “The Da Vinci Code.” In 2007, a large format print of a photo of Kate Moss taken by Watson in 1993 was sold at Christie’s in London for $ 108,000, five times the lowest presale estimate.
Good photographs are very rare and are beyond any definition, but they all have one thing in common: the emotion they cause that goes beyond the image. Their meaning is much richer than the first impression. In short, they have something miraculous about them. This is something that very few achieve; those who like Watson know that the composition of fashion photography have to represent the society.
Watson is a classic in the best sense of the word, in the sense that when you look at his photos you see something that belongs to a conceptually able person. It is not reality; it’s to tell a story you don’t see through the window. In real life, the family members argue and shout at and love each other, but he says he has never seen a fashion magazine that wants photos of people in those moods. He doesn’t seek an objective point of view but describes the interaction with the subject, being there in the picture with the subject’s reaction.
A photographer’s mission is to respond to the call of his retina; only the visual stimulus of his instinct demands the attention of the other eye – the camera- converting moments into eternities and people into myths. Fashion comes to represent a mode of individual expression and a way to exercise your freedom, against the traditional norms.
After making the world more aesthetic, he grabs his camera and set out to Africa to engage in making the world a little more ethical. “The people were wonderful. I was particularly moved by the positive energy emitted by the inhabitants of Benin – it was really surprising as the country and its people are really very poor. Experimenting and taking photos of their innocent joy was for me a wonderful experience. ”