River Phoenix swinging from a rope in his garden, Julia Roberts squealing in the waves underneath a boardwalk; Jack Nicholson and Danny Devito drunk in a bar; Elizabeth Taylor giving us the middle finger…these are just a few examples of the kinds of photos Michael Tighe was taking from when he was just 18. In the early 1970s, Michael was shown the ropes by legendary Magnum photographers Arnold Newman and Philippe Halsman and soon began working for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine.
He was quickly snapping away at what would soon become some of the most recognisable faces in the world, and building up the enormous, captivating portfolio that you can see today. What’s so marvellous about Tighe’s pictures are the revealing captions that appear beneath each photograph. Underneath an off-the-cuff shot of Warhol, Tighe writes; “Andy Warhol in the dining room of the factory. I believe the moosehead along with other taxidermied creatures residing there were from an old hunting lodge he purchased.”
His completely open, honest portfolio of work is really what sets Michael apart from other portrait photographers. His brief biography, which candidly explains the reason behind the large gap in the timeline (heroin addiction and subsequent recovery), indicates to us how his undeniable charm and open character was perhaps the key to his success, and why he was trusted to follow these people to the places where so few others were permitted.