Another "stifled" Waldorf student: Albert Watson
- For compulsive readers Pete & Di: "stifled" Waldorf student: Albert WatsonScots boltholes in the frame for lens legendANNA MILLAR ARTS CORRESPONDENT ( annamillar@...)
HIS iconic photographs of A-list celebrities, including Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and Naomi Campbell, have made him the toast of Tinseltown.
Albert Watson's lavish lifestyle has brought him homes in Marrakech, New York and Connecticut. But now, after a 36-year gap, the Scots-born photographer has revealed plans to fulfil a long-term dream of finding a pied-a-terre in Edinburgh and a holiday home in Skye.
The revelation comes a week after Watson tested the high end of lower Manhattan's real estate market, and listed his Greenwich Village home at $35m (£19m) - a record for a home below 14th Street in New York.
Born and raised in Scotland, Watson has lived in America, first in LA and now in New York, since 1970. He admitted his plans last night as his retrospective show, Frozen, opened at Edinburgh's City Art Centre. The 63-year-old artist defended his expat status, and said that regardless of his permanent address in America he was "100% Scottish".
"My Scots accent may have wavered after 30-odd years in America but I am still 100% Scottish. My education, discipline and straightforwardness are all Scottish characteristics. I still want a nice cup of tea and a custard cream of an afternoon instead of a Starbucks.
"I'm always looking in the property sections. I like the idea of having a smallish base in Edinburgh and renting a place up in Skye. It's just so beautiful up there and the Scottish weather, even after all these years in LA, doesn't bother me at all.
"I have superb places in Marrakech, New York, Connecticut, so I'm in no rush. You only have one body. You only need one pillow for your head."
Watson laughed off the suggestion that he might be down-sizing from America to Scotland for financial reasons, and said: "God, no. It's not about the cost factor. I can afford to keep it [the house in Manhattan] easily, but I spend so much time now travelling and working in Tokyo, LA, Paris and New York, and I don't use that particular space for work. There's only me, my wife, a 4lb Yorkie [Yorkshire terrier] and a cat - we just don't need all that space."
Watson's striking images have appeared on more than 250 covers of Vogue and in countless other publications, from Rolling Stone to Time. He was the official royal photographer for Prince Andrew's wedding to Sarah Ferguson, as well as the brains behind hundreds of successful advertising campaigns for major corporations such as Gap and Levi's.
Brought up in Penicuik by a boxer father and teacher mother, Watson was educated at the Rudolph Steiner School in Edinburgh and Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, before gaining a place at the Royal College of Art in London. He moved to the US in the 1970s and set up high-profile studio spaces in LA and New York.
Last night, the photographer said he was using his world-renowned skills to help contribute to Scotland's homegrown arts community - doing pro-bono work for Scottish Opera. Tomorrow afternoon the photographer will join his assistant - who is being flown in especially from New York - in Leith to take publicity pictures for the opera company's autumn production of Der Rosenkavalier.
Watson, who is a regular member of the audience at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, said: "I know Scottish Opera's a good company and I'm a fan of opera so I was happy to help. I hope it helps with the company's successes. I'm a big supporter of what they do."
Over the past six years, Watson has expanded his repertoire considerably. His book Maroc provided a showcase of still-life photography and landscapes; his next book, Shot in Vegas, is due out in November, featuring images of the glamorous city. Watson said he had not ruled out producing a similar book about Scotland.
"The way people often capture Scotland is in a very postcardy way - it would be better to capture the gothic romance of the place. Scotland is more than just pretty - it's bigger than that. It's a small country but it has a grandeur to it. There should be more grit to the way it is depicted."
Watson has enjoyed numerous recent film projects, which include the iconic images of a yellow-suited Uma Thurman for Kill Bill, and poster work on The Da Vinci Code, although he admits he thought that film was "painful".
"I was just horrified by the end result. It was almost painful to sit through, and normally I'm a huge fan of Ron Howard's [the director's] work.
"I have a great love of film and the notion of directing a full-length feature is very appealing. I haven't ruled out doing something Scotland-related."
Watson's exhibition Frozen will run at the City Art Centre until October 22. Scottish Opera's production of Der Rosenkavalier will open at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, on October 4.
This article: http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1104932006
Last updated: 30-Jul-06 01:06 BST