Caught on camera: Terence Conran's pounds 100 snaps

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Ever wondered if the snaps of the famous come out any better than yours? For pounds 50-100 you can find out. The Photographers' Gallery in London gave several designers, photographers and celebrities throw-away cameras with just one instruction: shoot at will.

The cameras are being returned, autographed, and are on sale to the public until 10 January. The gamble the buyer takes is to process-and lose the camera and autograph-or keep the bit of plastic and never know what the photographer saw through the lens.

The Independent gambled pounds 100 on design guru and restaurateur Sir Terence Conran's offering and found an eclectic collection of pictures taken in his apartment in 10 minutes over a lunch hour.

Sir Terence was startled to hear that a newspaper had bought the camera, and said he was relieved he hadn't followed his original idea for an erotic portfolio. "I had thought it might be nice to do a Marquis de Sade kind of thing, give somebody a shock if they developed the film, but I resisted. I thought there's enough of that stuff around already."

Sir Terence took 27 pictures of his "favourite things" ranging from a gas ring to a woman called Victoria Davis with whom he has been romantically linked in the gossip columns.

The Michelin man graces two of the snaps. "Monsieur Bibendum is my hero," Sir Terence said, recalling the opening of his first Habitat shop in 1964 across the street from the old Michelin building, then in a bad state of disrepair. He often gazed across at the old building "with great love and envy" and dreamt of it in a glorious state. In the mid-Eighties, he realised his dream, bought the building and put his Bibendum restaurant and Conran store in it.

Other pictures capture ordinary items, like his lunch, a piece of pink beef and a bottle of red wine and a smoking cigar in an ashtray. Other favourite things include an African shield, a steel model of a lobster bought in France and an enormous plane eight feet across hanging in a skylight.

Objets d'art feature in many shots, including one frame filled entirely with a blue wavy painting bought from a Royal College of Art student show. He also snapped several white vases, a Japanese red lacquer box and two heads by his friend, the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi.

Other guest shooters for the "One Careful Owner" sale include talk show host Jonathan Ross, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, designer Paul Smith, photographers Suky Best, Dorothy Bohm, Michael Kruger, Calurn Colvin and the photojournalist Dario Mitidieri.

Ironically, the cameras used by designers and entertainers cameras sell for pounds 100 while those wielded by the professionals fetch only pounds 50.

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