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Deborah Feingold, Brian Aris on working with Madonna

When Deborah Feingold photographed her in Feingold’s studio flat in New York in 1982, it was clear that even aged 24 and yet to release her first album, the young singer was incredibly focused:

“She took the elevator to my seventh-floor flat and got straight on with it,” Feingold recalls of the shoot for Star Hits magazine. “She was completely in control of everything. She knew how she wanted to look, how to move, and how she would look from every angle. We barely spoke. She just danced and I shot – about 48 frames. We didn’t talk about anything. I had a bowl of candy in the room and she just took some bubblegum and then picked up a lollipop and licked it. After about 15 minutes, we knew we’d both got what we wanted and she left.”

Brian Aris was asked to photograph the young singer two years later, in London.

“Madonna arrived on time but with a large entourage – and there was a spat at the end when one young man tried to collect a number of my Polaroid pictures,” he said. “Madonna didn’t conform to the normal pop profile of the period. She didn’t want over-made-up styling. Compared to the big hair and extraordinary make-up used by stars like Boy George and Eurythmics, her look was pretty subdued. She had serious attitude and knew exactly what she wanted, but there were no tears or tantrums. Madonna had great sex appeal and a unique look. She always confronts and challenges the camera.”

Daily Mail