Photographer DAVE BENETT reveals the stories of iconic images of the rich and famous – Daily Mail

By Dave Benett For The Daily Mail


Dave Benett has been photographing the rich and famous for over 40 years.
From royalty to movie star, Mr Showbiz has seen it all when it comes to the lives of the famous and the infamous.
Now his work is the focus of a new exhibition celebrating the society photographer’s storied portfolio.
The JD Malat Gallery will host the exaltation of Benett’s magnificent 40-year career.
My most famous pic? THAT dress! Liz Hurley, 1994. 
This is probably my most famous picture.
It was at a party for Four Weddings And A Funeral and literally 20 of us guys had been photographing Liz for three hours but there was just something missing — and it was movement.

Then suddenly, there she was going up the stairs, and stretching the dress . . .bang, bang. And she knew it. The movement of the dress is perfect. It was fate. 
No one knew Liz at this point and [then boyfriend] Hugh Grant was only an up-andcoming actor himself. The funny thing is, it’s probably the biggest picture of his life, but if you look, Hugh doesn’t even know it’s happening! 
Princess Di knew I was her friend.  Princess Diana and Liza Minnelli, 1991
Diana was always happiest when she was involved with dance. This was the after party for the premiere of Stepping Out, in the September — a year before she separated from Prince Charles. The producers said: ‘You’ve got eight seconds to get a picture.’
So I walked up and, as I did, Liza said something that made Diana burst out laughing.

They are giggling. It’s a really natural laugh and Liza looks like she’s gossiping — it just made it work. 
I photographed Diana many times and we built this relationship where she knew that if I was at a party, I wasn’t going to try to embarrass her in any way.
Kate the gunslinger. Kate Moss, 2002
The thing about Kate is, if she was in a shop or pub, you wouldn’t notice her. But the minute the camera sees her it just lights up. There’s never a bad picture of Kate Moss.
I had spent all evening with Kate at the party for the Mario Testino exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery but I just didn’t feel I had got a really great picture.

This was as she was leaving. She’d grabbed her coat and I just saw this shot.
It reminded me of James Dean in Giant, when he has his rifle on his shoulder. The way she has that cigarette lighter is like the end of a rifle. It’s so rock ‘n’ roll.
Charles is out of fashion. Prince Charles with Donatella Versace, 1999
This picture, taken in the June, is an example of when stepping back is better than being too close.
A lot of guys would have cropped the Prince with Prince [the musician]. But step back and you see a different picture.
Because there’s Lenny Kravitz whispering in Donatella Versace’s ear and you realise Charles is the odd one out, and feels a bit uncomfortable. It’s a really interesting dynamic.

Smoking Hot. Carla Bruni, 1992
I think this one’s brilliant — taken back when you could still drink and smoke at a public event. And Carla was just one of the most beautiful women in the world at the time.
Pretty much every model now would want to look like her. She didn’t even have to try to be a model.

About three years ago I photographed her in Qatar with [former French president] Sarkozy, which felt strange. 
This is the same woman I remembered on the arm of rock ‘n’ roll stars.
Arnie gets Stallone in a spin. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, 2014
This was taken in Cannes when they were launching one of The Expendables movies and brought the two of them back together. They’d been winding each other up for years and literally couldn’t even be in the same room.
It all dated back to a crazy night at Planet Hollywood in London about 20 years ago. Arnie did a speech, obviously in his Germanic accent, talking about his mother’s strudel, when Stallone jumped into the crowd and everyone went crazy. 

And that was the start of the problem: he took away Arnie’s glory. You can see Schwarzenegger is being tongue-in-cheek whereas Stallone, well, he isn’t really sure what is happening!
Taking the Mick. Mick Jagger, 1986
Here’s the first picture I took of Mick Jagger on his own — at the back door of The 100 Club. The Stones did a night for [keyboard player] Ian Stewart, known as the Sixth Stone, to raise money for his widow.
What I remember most is Mick’s leather jacket. I had never seen a coat like that. He likes being photographed on stage but not off it — he’s always a tricky shot. I have sympathy with that because he’s probably one of the most famous men on the planet.

Miss Prim lets her hair down. Claudia Schiffer dancing in Versace, 1999
This is a Versace show, the biggest fashion event in Paris. And what I love about this picture is that Claudia is so vampy.
Her make-up is a bit runny —not the Claudia Schiffer we always see, that prim model who is always super, super cool. Does she mind being photographed like that?

Being part of that world, being part of that party, is what I do. That is my job. 
So they are practically like friends — it is like a friend taking a picture of you having a good time.
Jack the lad for fun time. Jack Nicholson with Danny DeVito, 1993
This is when they were in London and had just done the film Hoffa. When Jack came to town everyone came out to play — it was party time. They would go out, go to shows, all that sort of stuff. He never cared.
That’s the thing about Jack. He said to me: ‘You know what. When I’m in London I look both ways when I walk out of the door because you guys are always somewhere.’

New bride Sadie is in Jude awe. Jude Law and Sadie Frost, 1997
The pair were newlyweds when I took this shot at the Odeon Leicester Square for the premiere of the film Wilde.
What I love about this picture is that Sadie is totally in love with Jude. You can just see the adulation in her face.
And he has got just a little bit of a wily face. They were young and it was early in his career. A glimpse of what’s in store, eh?

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