I found this by accident yesterday. Strange isn’t it? Ron Raffaelli, the rock and erotica photographer shot this peculiar portrait of a naked Jimmy Page with his guts hanging out, at Page’s specific request. The blonde in the shot is Miss Cynderella, one time member of the GTOS and briefly the wife of John Cale (before he caught her fucking Kevin Ayers, but I digress).
“After touring with the band I became very close to them, and on a long flight from London to New York, Jimmy Page told me about a recurring dream he had. In this dream Jimmy falls from the concert stage into the flailing arms of a sea of screaming fans. he is stripped of his clothes and forced to have sex with many beautiful groupies.
Dream? Sounds more like his waking life back then, but this was 1969, maybe the legendary Led Zeppelin debauchery hadn’t gotten into full swing yet? Via Dark Elf:
Thus it came to be that in December of 1969, Raffaelli set up a photo shoot at his studio for Jimmy to turn his dream fantasy into a fully realised photographic image.
“I had an assistant go down to the butcher and get these entrails,“recalls the photographer, “and they smelled like crazy! So I insisted they be kept in a can out on the back porch of my studio for the early morning shooting, and we weren’t going to bring them in until we had to because of the smell. Page came in with this model, some groupie that was hanging on to him at the moment.
I don’t remember her name, it was ‘Moonbeam’ or something… [the model is Cindy Wells, aka Miss Cynderella, from the GTOs] and I had the private set ready so there was no one there but him and me and this model. They stripped down and I got them all posed and everything and I said ‘ok, I am going to bring in the…uh..entrails,’ and by now the sun had come up and and it was heating them up so they were warm . I put them on him and got it all posed, but I’m looking through the camera and I’m thinking, ‘it just looks like I poured those entrails on his stomach, it doesn’t look like there’s a gash or anything.’ It just didn’t look convincing. And he’s laying there and she’s laying there and the stuff is beginning to get ripe and I’m thinking, ‘I’ve gotta think quick.’ So I run out to the kitchen and look in the refridgerator and there was my answer. I had a nice jar of strawberry preserves!
“I quick grabbed a long spoon and mixed ‘em up and they had the right redness and consistency, with little specks and everything. it had the right look to it like it might be the inside of a turned-out open wound. So I took these cold, cold preserves- and I give Jimmy a lot of credit, he must really have wanted the picture- and put them all around the entrails on his stomach. And I know from the expression on his face and the contortions that his body was going through that this was not a comfortable situation!
“I originally shot it in Black & white and gave Page a 16X20 print, and I also shot color at the same time that I just developed and rolled up into a ball and stuck into a drawer and hadn’t looked at until I decided to put it up on my website this year.
My agent met Jimmy in New York last year and explained that we have this material and that we were intending to sell it and he didn’t have any objections to it. It’s bizarre, but I would never consider it a controversial picture by any means, it’s just bizarre and reflects a bizarre state of mind that he was in at the time. I’m sure he looks back at it and goes, ‘Oh my God, what was I thinking?!’”
I’ll bet he does!