JOHN STODDART's passport shows that since starting his career as a photographer 15 years ago, he has travelled all over the world. A stamp for Israel reminds him of an assignment to photograph Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of the Israeli elections last year. "We were there for days following him around. He was immensely tense, that was the brilliant thing about photographing him at that point; and we ended up photographing him in an unleavened bread factory in downtown Jerusalem." Last year John also visited Lyons to photograph the head of Interpol. "That was fantastic because he was just like M from a James Bond," says John, adding, "it was quite weird, because I was sure he knew nothing about me, but he said `I'm looking in this lens and I keep thinking of the beautiful women that you must have photographed with this camera' " It is true that John is probably best known for his portraits of famous actresses and models, often with very little on, such as Samantha Janus, Sophie Anderton and Liz Hurley. Over the years John has visited New York for work at least 20 times and on one occasion he thought he might not come back. He explains: "Seven years ago I was staying in a suite at the Chelsea Hotel when I heard this noise and screaming in the corridor. I looked through the peephole in the door only to find that it was smashed and there was just a hole and through it I could see a man standing there in his underpants smashing on the door with a machete. I was terrified. I ran downstairs to raise the alarm, then crawled out on to the window-sill, which was 14 floors high, and waited while the police shot him dead." Needless to say John never went back to the Chelsea Hotel, and switched to the Algonquin, but even there his stays have not been without event. He says: "I was watching television and in the middle of the floor was a mouse. I called downstairs and said `there's a mouse in my room' and they were really apologetic and said `we'll be right up sir'. There was knock on the door and when I opened it there was a man with a cat. Things like that only happen in New York."

ROSANNA GREENSTREET

John Stoddart's book of photographs `It's Nothing Personal' is released by Arrunden Publishing on 7 June. Price pounds 33. For stockists telephone Arrunden on 01484 602961 (ISBN 0-90521638-3-7)

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