Behind the Image: Ian Berry’s Intimate Portrait of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin
The photographer recalls a welcome, relaxed assignment with the pair, following a 47,000 mile drive through Africa and Asia
In 1970 Ian Berry, freshly returned from a gruelling trip across three continents, found himself in the small Paris flat of French singer and pop-culture icon Serge Gainsbourg, and English singer and actress Jane Birkin.
The pair — hugely recognizable figures of the 1970s music and youth culture scene – were at the time two years a relationship often played out in the public eye, through photographs, but also through their own music – not least the ranuchy duet ‘J’taime… moi non plus”, which would be banned in several countries because of its lyrical content.
Here, Berry reflects upon the making of his famous portrait of the pair — itself something of an anomaly in his work — and the strikingly relaxed nature of this assignment.