'Diana changed clothes in front of me and asked me if I minded': The stunning portraits of the Princess of Wales, Joanna Lumley and Joan Collins
Pride of place in Gemma Levine’s home goes to her simple black-and-white portrait of Princess Diana looking relaxed without jewellery.
‘I had it blown up and framed, and she signed it Diana and dated it September 31, 1994.
'Of course, September only has 30 days, so that makes me smile every time I look at it. I thought it
JOAN COLLINS, 1987: ‘She emerged from a chauffeur-driven car on a blustery evening in a black polka-dot dress, fine black stockings and black stilettos, a pearl-and-diamond necklace and matching earrings. She was breathtakingly beautiful. She asked for the bathroom, then when she was in there the handle jammed. I was convinced the shoot would be a disaster. But she was masterly and it went without a hitch.’Now in her seventies, Levine’s big break came with a shot of the Conservative leader Edward Heath on the telephone in 1976.
She was at his book signing when he took a call from Downing Street informing him that Prime Minister Harold Wilson had just resigned.
It became a front-page picture, for which she earned her first £35. Her portrait of another Prime Minister, Tony Blair, now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
‘It was in 1994, he was subdued and rather shy, clasping his hands almost in prayer. I love a photograph that gives a reaction.’
‘Just One More... A Photographer’s Memoir’ is out on April 3, published by Elliott & Thompson, £25
DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES, 1994: ‘Diana was warm, gracious and completely natural. She talked to me about her boys, and I spoke of my own sons. We were totally at ease in each other’s presence. Without any hesitation, she changed clothes in front of me, asking me if I minded and she did not need mirrors to refresh her make-up or hair. A week later she returned with an enormous bouquet of flowers to thank me.