ANIMAL’s original series I Should Have Shot That! asks photographers about that one shot that got away. This week Richard Kern tells us about that time he almost shot Kate Moss. In her panties. 

The one thing, in the last few years that I really miss and I never even got the opportunity to do — Purple magazine had asked me to shoot Kate Moss. They knew I shoot naked girls and stuff and I thought, great! Since she did those Obsession ads way back when she was like laying naked on the couch, all that stuff that looked like kid porn. The guy from the magazine Olivier said, “She is going to do anything you want, we want it to be sexy.” That’s what they always say. “We want lots of nudity, just maybe her in her panties, whatever.”

I start thinking, wow, this is great, this is Kate Moss in her panties. I started cooking up this idea where I am going to bring panties myself and then shoot Kate Moss in them, then I’ll have some panties that Kate Moss wore and then casually ask her if she’ll mind if I use the panties in an art piece and then frame the photos with her panties. I’ll be able to sell it — the piece and the panties together.

I thought, she is a big fucking supermodel. If I get her to do it then I can ask other famous girls to do it and I have a whole show.

I was planning this for a show I was having in 2006 in London, all famous models. It will look cool and it will also have this weird Japanese panty selling thing. If the collectors buy it, they’ll be like some pervert whose buying… Ugh, this is going to be in print… It’s going to be a weird dual thing where they’re buying it for two different reasons, not just because it looks good — it will play on the whole collector mentality.

I’m working this whole thing out in my head and I’m fantasizing about it, so we start calling up her agent and the first thing he said was: “She’s not shooting with you.” They never cleared. The entire shoot was just killed after all this preparation. I never got to shoot her and never got to meet her. Purple said she loves my work, she is all about it, and it’s all cleared. She’d never heard of it. The agent had never heard of it.

I ended up doing those pieces anyway with unknown girls and it actually worked out better. I did have the show in HOTEL in London. There were 8 pieces. I just had to rework my whole approach.

In the meantime since then I’ve been able to shoot a lot of famous girls and I did take panties and I never said anything, so at some point I will have this show — not like big famous girls, couple of them are — they are all reasonably well-known models and I’ve got their panties. I will have another show. I am just paranoid that if I do it somebody’s going to flip out, but they will probably never know.

I’ve got, like, boxes of them.

Richard Kern is a legendary New York photographer, writer and filmmaker, harking back from the hay days of Cinema of Transgression and still shooting a lot of famous girls (and boys.) I Should Have Shot That! is illustrated by the amazing James Noel Smith.

Also, ANIMAL got Mr. Kern a present. Forgive our guerilla framing.

I Should Have Shot That!

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I Should Have Shot That: Clayton Cubitt’s Childhood Escape

I Should Have Shot That: Ricky Powell’s Kennedy Ambush

I Should Have Shot That: Tony Fouhse’s Addict Breakdown

I Should Have Shot That: Ellen Stagg’s Naked Girls of Ghostbusters

I Should Have Shot That: Clayton Patterson’s Bloodless Bullet Hole

I Should Have Shot That: Suzanne Plunkett’s Idle Catastrophe

I Should Have Shot That: Boogie’s Lost Girl

I Should Have Shot That: Chris Arnade’s Brighton Beach Rejection

Bonus:

I Shouldn’t Have Shot That: Scot Sothern’s Delirious Hooker

I Shot That: Tod Seelie’s Exploding Car