John Lennon 'in blue', author of books of his illustrated poetry "In His Own Write" (1964); "A Spaniard In The Works" (1965). "Skywriting by Word of Mouth and Other Writings" (published posthumously 1986). "The John Lennon Letters", edited and with editorial notes by Hunter Davies (published posthumously 2012). Portrait of John Lennon, by Richard Keith Wolff, Twickenham Film Studios. England, 1969.
"I have the same trouble as you in writing - but the answer is: just let it roll -" In letter to a correspondent, John Lennon 1967
image © 1969 Richard Keith Wolff
Warning read below only for the nerd, geek, pedant, anorak or intelligentsia!
I rewound my roll of film quickly in my closed camera, to change the type of film I was using. When the film comes off the last sprocket you feel it, and when it goes completely into the film canister you almost hear it, but you cannot see it. I had done this many times, it has become second nature, or so I thought, until that time: a tab of the film remained hooked on to the last sprocket so when I opened the camera and pulled the film canister out, it held a small piece of the film pulling it back out, exposing about a frame length. I immediately pushed the film back into the light proof canister but a moment in photography is a very long time. I felt bad almost ill, in life you sometimes get one go. I had messed up a shot or perhaps more when photographing John Lennon.
On the other hand I was curious to see the effect. I had been to a British Film Institute lecture by cinematographer Freddie Young, a favourite, a few days before, who had a film flashed with white light to reduce the colour saturation because he had wanted to make the specific film in Black & White, but because of commercial pressures was unable to do that. Though the differences were that he did his effect in a controlled and tested way, his film stock was a totally different type to the one I had used, in any case was a most novel thing to do.
The next day I rushed to the stills lab where I looked at the developed transparencies this is the shot in question. I have since printed it as a giclee print looks good and it is one of the good shots from the series in my eyes. RKW