'Amy with lipstick', New York 2003
Part of the 'Before Frank' collection and photographed in New York, at the Ritz Tower in July 2003, twenty years ago. Now on view at the newly reopened National Portrait Gallery in London, and recently named one of the "8 things you can't miss" in the museum by Vogue, read the full article below.
"Down in the cellar of the Weston Wing you’ll find a striking portrait of the late, great Amy Winehouse captured by Charles Moriarty. Sitting in Larry’s, the gallery’s newly opened late night cocktail bar, the photograph shows the jazz singer reapplying her lipstick in the Ritz Tower in New York City. This wasn’t the first time Moriarty had photographed Winehouse, either – in fact, this image was part of a wider series of portraits the pair collaborated on in the run up to the release of Winehouse’s debut album, Frank."
All limited edition images are printed as archival C-types, are signed at the front and come with an estate stamped certificate of authenticity.
‘Amy with Lipstick’ was never meant to happen. The photo was taken in July 2003. Amy and I were due to shoot a series of images for the inlay of the Frank album’s artwork. We had already shot the cover in London and the original concept had been to create something relaxed and intimate at her home in Camden, but due to schedule conflicts we’d ended up with 24 hours in New York.
I was 21, this was my first photo assignment and we were about to get started when a very long and immense thunderstorm washed away all of our original plans. We were stuck in my uncle Dan’s apartment and mild panic was setting in.
The morning after we were scheduled to shoot we woke up with only a few hours before Amy had to fly to Miami. Time to improvise. Amy and I sat on the floor in my cousin’s apartment and pulled several outfits from her suitcase. Before I knew it Amy was putting her hair up into a beehive.
The photo of Amy putting on lipstick was taken just as she finished getting ready. The lightning earrings had been bought the day before from Patricia Fields’s store in Soho and the dress was one she’d brought from London.
I was trying to be as cinematic as I could with the image; photographing Amy in profile and giving the audience as much of a narrative as possible within a single frame. This was Amy Winehouse in Manhattan, maybe a sixties version of the city, getting ready to go downtown to perform in a club, or to meet friends and have a whisky sour.
A testament to how great things can come out of complicated circumstances.