Jean-Michel Basquiat, NYC, 1988
Kinga, Vermont, 2001
Stanley Kubrick, London, 1969
Rainer Fetting, NYC, 1985
Cindy Sherman, NYC, 1985
Ken Dodd, Knotty Ash, England, 1975
Steve Martin, NYC, 1989
Michael Caine, London, 1974
Barbara Kreuger, NYC, 1986
Germaine Greer, London, 1978
Francis Bacon, London, 1976
Edward Albee, Montauk, NY, 1983
Paul Theroux, London, 1976
Liv Ullman, Madrid, 1976
Mick Jagger, Hollywood, 1975
Tom Baker, London, 1975
Richard Gere, NYC, 1998
Spalding Grey, NYC, 1985
William Burroughs, Texas, 1983
Tom Stoppard, London, 1980s


Major cultural figures are in short supply. Perhaps more to the point, the ones we’ve got don’t occupy the same space that they might have done 30 or even 20 years ago. Artists, writers, and thinkers used to be listened to as public figures; we’ve got no time for that now. For an ambitious portrait photographer, there are forums for the dissemination of photographic portraits as art, but such well-meaning, prize-giving endeavours seem culturally marginal and a more than little academic, when you compare them to the oracular power of a photograph that everyone was going to be looking at, of a person everyone was listening to.

Enter: a portfolio of limpidly beautiful portraits by Dmitri Kasterine, derived from his career as an editorial photographer in London and New York from 1960 to the 1990s. Looking at these pictures now, it is hard not to think, a little bitterly, that Dmitri was fortunate to be working before the internet, the population explosion, and a thousand TV channels splintered our attention forever; but it is also clear that he has the rare ability – it is genuinely rare – to photograph any human being with sovereign insight.

Citation: David Secombe, The London Column