THE SITTER'S TALE: Grenville Davey
New faces at the National Portrait Gallery: the Turner prize-winning sculptor infiltrates city life with the help of Gautier Deblonde
Sunday 18 April 1999
To do the photo, we went for a walk around Leadenhall Market in the City of London. We went to see what was possible. I walk around the city quite often - a few days ago I went from Charing Cross to Liverpool Street - and I often go for long walks to clear my head. I only remember doing one session for this. I wasn't queuing for anything in particular, I just joined the line - I think they were queueing for sandwiches. Gautier said, "go and stand over there, Grenville" - it's a bit of a cheat really. It wasn't a conscious pose though; I just stood in a line. Being photographed among other people, it's like having a finger pointed at you.
What I liked about this photo when I first saw the contact sheets was the person walking into the frame on the right. I thought that might be a problem, but it works really well. I've got a really cheap and nasty shirt on - a pounds 10 shirt from Brixton. I like that fact as they'll all have been wearing nice shirts for work, and I'm not, although you don't necessarily know this looking at the photograph.
I think it's an incredibly clever picture - it occurred quite naturally, or rather, it is a natural picture of me. Every photograph Gautier takes is very much of the person, about the person, not about himself. And that's the point.
Grenville Davey's 1995 portrait by Gautier Deblonde hangs at the NPG, London, WC2 (0171 306 0055).
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
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