“I began to see life itself as a camera lens... the ever-changing view through different lenses, choosing whether to focus close or far away, seemed to give me an underlying philosophy for life."
Carinthia West is a photographer who has grown up in the presence of, and been friends with, some of the 20th century's greatest names from music, film and society. Anjelica Huston, Mick Jagger, George Harrison, Ronnie Wood, Robin Williams, Paul Getty Jnr, Neil Young, Helen Mirren, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Carly Simon, James Taylor, King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan, are just a few of those she photographed at both casual and poignant moments in their lives.
Armed with her beloved Canon camera, with it’s “lucky” red strap, she traveled through the iconic years of the 1970’s, as Muse magazine wrote; "a free spirit, blissfully unaware that she was candidly recording icons and iconic moments of the times,". For many years, while West pursued other talents, thousands of slides and negatives languished in shoe boxes until she started to look at them again, and transfer them from her kitchen table to the walls of galleries. She has now had several successful exhibitions, first at the prestigious Dimbola Museum in the Isle of Wight, then London’s Library Space, and recently at the San Francisco Art Exchange, America’s pioneering rock and roll photography gallery. Included among the images are pensive unposed portraits of Mick Jagger; Monty Python’s Eric Idle playing guitar with Ronnie Wood; Sissy Spacek and Shelly Duvall on the film set of Robert Altman’s Three Women; Bonnie Raitt playing volley ball with friends, Oprah Winfrey on the set of The Colour Purple; Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood in a Malibu hospital awaiting the birth of Ronnie’s first child, and the photos she took from the sidelines of the Pink Floyd’s legendary cover shoot for the album Animals. In 36 frames she chronicled the massive inflatable pig, hoisted high above London’s Battersea Power Station, then breaking free of the cables that kept it in place, threatening air traffic, then flying away (to land in a field in Kent)... In the words of Pink Floyd drummer, Nick Mason: "It was fortuitous that Carinthia was there on the day we shot the Animals cover because when the pig shook off its moorings and flew away there was an excellent photographer present to record it!"