all about Madonna

15 years online

Madonna Interview : Aperture

Vince: You seem relatively unscareable.

Madonna: Yeah, but there was some energy that he had that I didn’t feel comfortable with. And I couldn’t even explain to you what it was. I was very young when I met him and I hadn’t been living in New York that long. Anyway, Herb was the first photographer that I really had a relationship with.

Vince: And then Meisel after that?

Madonna: Pretty much. I worked with other people, but nobody that made a difference. And then I worked with Steven. What was the first thing I didn with him? I don’t even remember. But I remember once I got more into fashion and started collecting more art and becoming a lot more aware of the intersection of art and fashion, that’s when I got into Steven Meisel.

Vince: In a sense, you were more on his wavelength, then.

Madonna: I sort of went into Steven’s wavelength, and then that worked for a while. too, and culminated in the Sex book and all of that stuff. And then I didn’t want to have my photograph taken for a really long time, and then I hooked up with Mario Testino. I worked with lots of photographers inbetween, but a sort of artist-muse relationship excisted with those three photographers.

Vince: There are tons of other pictures of you –

Madonna: But those were just one-offs.

Vince: – but those were the photographers who seemed to bring you out in a collaborative way. Is there one, definitive Madonna picture?

Madonna: I think there is with each photographer, but there isn’t just one, because I feel like I change and evolve so much that it’s hard for me to put my finger on one.

Vince: I suspected that you’d say that, because if you chose once, you’d be pinning yourself down to just one moment and there is really no one moment. Are there other photographers that you’d like to work with?

Madonna: Like to become the muse of? Well, I really wanted to have my picture taken by Helmut Newton, and I did. I love his stuff, too. But I didn’t have a relationship with him; he’s not available, or accessible. I also had my photograph taken by this other photographer who I adored, but the photographs never got used: Paolo Roversi, he does beautiful work. They were going to be pictures for my album cover – not this record but the record before – but the people at the record company were all too freaked out; they thought the pictures were too blurry, they weren’t going to read well – whatever.

Vince: In all of photographic history, who would you wish to have photographed you?

Madonna: Well, Man Ray – no question, no question. There are a lot of photographers that I admire, but I’m not sure that I would have wanted them to photograph me. Irving Penn, but not now – forty years ago. I can’t think of anyone else.

Vince: Weston?

Madonna: Yeah, yeah. No question; he was amazing. But I think that’s it: Weston, Man Ray, and Irving Penn – not a shabby crowd.

Vince: Following that, who in the history of art would you like to have painted your portrait?

Madonna: Wow! That’s a good question. Well, Picasso would have been amazing. I’ve got a portrait of Dora Maar that’s un-believable. It wouldn’t have been a pretty picture, but we would have liked it anyway.

Vince: With Picasso it would have been so beyond just having your picture done.

Madonna: He paints your personality, he doesn’t paint your portrait; and he paints his personality, too. But I’m happy to share a canvas with Picasso. I would have loved Bouguereau to paint my portrait, because I would have looked really good. (She laughs) He doesn’t paint an ugly picture of anyone. Or Rembrandt, he would have been OK. (Said with the feigned unconcern, and sly smile, of a princess indulging in high nobless oblige. Then, after a long pause;) Oh, I know who: Edward Hopper. Love his paintings.