As John Thornton recounts, "In the 1970's I was considered the most popular photographer in Spain. I was asked to do a photographic demonstration in Barcelona which I initially turned down. My friend Richard Winslade suggested after a spliff that I should put paper bags on their heads, so they could not see me. I developed this to gold masks. I was presented with the ballroom of The Ritz Hotel and decided I would shoot the audience as voyeurs. Firstly to set up the lighting, I dressed in an orange flying suit from the Dutch Air Force, then Derrie Powell, the model, walked along the balcony overlooking the ballroom, dressed only in a flowing black velvet cape, high shoes and gold mask. Turning her back to the audience, she dropped the cape and lay down out of view of the audience. I forgot to mention that the audience had been told that Snr Thornton would not appear till they all wore their masks. Off the linked Nikons went, shooting one roll of film in each camera. At the end, Derrie put on her cape and we went to the edge and bowed. Going down into the audience later, numerous people came up saying another surrealist is born, just like Dali. The Ritz ballroom had been the venue for Dali's parties where they fought to carry him out comatose. Several years later, he attended my exhibition in Cadaques near his house in Port Lligat, commenting 'Magnifico...Fantastico'."

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"You don't read books except those with pictures and words hence my reading is restricted to comics and porn."

Johnny Thornton

Artwork Highlights

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Photoshoot Details

Location : The Ritz Hotel, Barcelona
Date        : 1977
Model     : Derrie Powell


Printed on Fuji Lustre


Medium: 100 x 75 cm (39 x 30") | Edition: 25

Framing Options

Chelsea Black Frame (recommended)

Your Investment Opportunity

This piece is extremely rare and has limited availability. If you would like to take advantage and have some pieces from our collection, please contact us immediately. Once sold, there is no guarantee they will be available again any time in the near future.

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