Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ken Dodd remembers

Ken Dodd is sitting in his old primary school playground in Knotty Ash near Liverpool, England. This is one of a series of comedians in a reflective mood that I photographed in the 1970's. I do not know if his fame reached these shores, but Ken Dodd has sold over 100 million records and at the height of his fame was a household name in England that equaled the Beetles. He is still touring at the age of eighty-four. My idea of doing the comedians with their mouths shut was embraced by the art director, but the editor, when he saw the photographs, shook his head and doubted he could run them. But he did and the art director remained in his job and I continued to work for him.


  1. Everything, the chair, the placement of the foot, the crossed leg,looks like he wants to jump up and run.

  2. He does look a little uneasy and restless, though I think that has more to do with being out of his element as a comedian. When they're not up there on stage being funny for instance, many in this profession are known to have darker, more introspective if not withdrawn personalities (Woody Allen, John Belushi, and Steve Martin are well-known examples). His posture though, the way he looks into the distance with his hands in his pockets, the leg over, the tilted chair, etc., somehow make him look animated. It's almost as if he feels the need to act, to tell a joke or anecdote even if he has to keep his mouth shut. Given how flattened the background looks in comparison to his strong foreground presence as well, you make him appear as if he is on a stage of sorts. Great shot!

  3. I love this image because I've never seen Ken Dodd looking soulful - google him & you'll see what I mean!
    But it reminds me of the depth behind comedic talent; indeed the Victorian primary school looming large in the background suggests a rather austere early life.
    Quite a portrait, I wonder what he thought of it.


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