Stewart Darby on his friendship with the actor, David Hemmings

They were wonderful days when I think back. I say it was always my intention to get on with everybody. We did a thing in the Lake District called Clouds of Glory, Ken Russell directed. And David Warner and Felicity Kendal. And Ken Russell he used to be a stills-man in these early days and so he knew…he introduced himself to all of us, at least Les Davies did. He used to be a stills-man and he said “Anything you’re not getting, tell me.” Oh, this is fantastic! And he did a couple of times say, “Have you got that?” I said, “I could just do with that little…” “Right, OK, stills!” Which was fantastic! But one day I arrive and there’s David Hemmings in the middle of a river, fishing. This is the scene. So as a Pro-photographer, soundwise I wouldn’t always bother the camera man, I’d see the sound guy – “If I’m over there you’re going to hear me?” “No, that’s fine, Stew.” Or we’ll do a test. “Can you hear me? No, that’s great. OK.” Or I’ll wait till they swap camera positions, which they did, and I shouted, “David, Stewart Darby. I’m the stills photographer.” “Hello, Stewart, I’ll see you in the minute.” And then he gave me a bollocking! Well, not really. “Don’t speak to my artists while I’m working with them” and he wasn’t working with them. They were swapping positions. Anyway. Long story, it was nothing. Came out, talked, we became great friends.

He was a talented magician, David Hemmings, and my Dad was so we swapped tricks and one thing and another. Conjuring tricks. And we finished up playing pool together in an evening so we’d be on location and he’d be in all his gear, his wigs and everything and we found the pub had opened early, within 5 minutes of the location. I’ve forgotten what it was called. So he’d say, “Stew, get the engine going!” So he’d say, “OK, that’s it wrapped! See you at half eight in the morning!” And he’d be running to my car with all his gear and Make-up and Wardrobe were saying, “We need your gear! We need your wig!” “Ohh, it’ll be alright, I’ll look after it!” And we’d get in the car and we’d go to the pub and we’d have 30 games of pool at £1 a corner, you know, and we’d have a few pints, you know but we were even matched so nobody lost an awful lot of money! But again that was, again, getting on with people. Friendship. Knowing that I had to photograph David Hemmings the next day and if he liked me and I got on with him I’m doing twice as well here, aren’t I? And I did that with many artists, many people.

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