True Chats: A conversation with fine art photographer Caroline True

With an illustrious career working creatively in the music industry, fine art photographer Caroline True now turns her creative director skills towards her own photographic agenda. From living life in the fast lane in London to the quiet rolling hills of Somerset in England, Caroline True now takes time to enjoy the slower process—the intimate relationship between the sitter and the photographer, whether it's a flower or a person.


In an English Country Garden, True's current exhibition showcases her love of botanical beauties; however, her skills for extracting the true (pun-intended) essences of a subject's soul through the intimacy of the lens is quite powerful. We invite you to meet Caroline True.


A: In an English Country Garden, what does this exhibition mean to you?

CT: It means the world to me. Whatever else I'm doing, as in, working most of the time, my garden is always there, from sowing seeds, growing, blooming, and dying back. There's always something to do, and I can always find a few minutes to nurture it. It's most definitely my happy place! Taking photos of the flowers I grow is my personal joy, and I'm so delighted that my work is on exhibition.


A: How long have you known Kenny, and how did you meet?

CT: I've known Kenny for a long time! We met when he and George got together in 1996 at a mutual friend's home, and we became friends and inseparable. I love Kenny! 


A: As creative director for Virgin Music Worldwide, what was your best video and why?

CT: Definitely, Shaking the Tree – Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'dour. It was 1989. Peter Gabriel had commissioned an incredible director Isaac Julien to direct the video in Senegal, Youssou's home. It was an unforgettable video shoot on so many levels, the talent of course, but there was civil unrest between the Senegalese and the Mauritanians, and we flew on the day war broke out. Peter was determined to get to Senegal, and somehow, we got there and made the most beautiful video. (see video below)


A: What is your best album cover?

CT: Of course, Symphonica! How incredible that I got to take the photo for one of George's album covers. Sadly, his last. I love that smile! There was another similar image of him not smiling, but I'm so happy that the smiling photo became 'the one'. And one of the most memorable days of my life was the day spent taking pictures of George at the Palais Garnier in Paris.


A: Behind the scenes, share a personal memory? 

CT: Back on August 1, 1994, at RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. I worked as the Creative Director in the Special Projects department at Virgin Records. Voodoo Lounge was the first Rolling Stones album with Virgin. The album and tour were released in tandem, so we were in Washington for press and promotion around the Voodoo Lounge tour. We were lucky enough to go to the dress rehearsal the night before the tour's first night. It was the day before my birthday, and I had the goosebump moment of sitting in an empty stadium (well maybe 50 people!) watching the Rolling Stones rehearse, an amazing moment!!


A: Inspiration! What's your favorite celebrity photo, and why?

CT: The portrait of John Lennon & Paul McCartney, by David Bailey. No idea why I love it, I just do and have done since I was a kid! With artistic respect to Mr Bailey, his photo composition inspired the photo I took of my nieces. 


A: What's the best compliment you've received for a portrait?

CT: The portrait I took of British artist Sir Michael Craig-Martin was shot for an editorial story, and then used as his image on the Gagosian website, and he used another of my photos in his book.


A: Why do you love to shoot portraits? 

CT: I love people. I love people's faces. I love when I take photos of people, and they tell me they love their portrait when they've spent hours telling me how much they hate having their picture taken, I get enormous pleasure from that. There's something very personal about taking a portrait, and when you've never met someone, you have to get to know them very quickly, make them feel comfortable, at ease, and most of all I have to make people laugh.