It Seems Like Yesterday: Princess Diana

She was, of course, the most sought after person in entire the world.

LIFE magazine wanted a photograph of Princess Diana for an upcoming issue. At the time, she was giving photographers wonderful moments, walking slowly, stopping to pose. She would even phone her favorites telling them to follow her to places like Africa, making certain they had good pictures upon their return.

Two British newspaper photographers told me that after her divorce, Diana would occasionally call to tell them when she was going to exercise class. She knew that getting out of her car in her gym clothes with her gym bag slung over her shoulders would make a good photograph—one which would knock Prince Charles off the front page of the London papers when he was at some ribbon-cutting ceremony. She knew how to make the most of her celebrity.

The evening in Oxford, pictured here, I only wanted and needed one good photograph, but that’s not what I got.  When the princess stepped out of her limousine, I began to take photographs. My camera went “rattle rattle” and jammed. Instead of having frame after frame of Diana, I have a series of ten images in one frame because the film refused to move forward.  The camera was trying, but the film just wasn’t budging.

At the time I thought this montage was unusable, but as with many things in life, the passage of time changed my opinion. Now, I find this photograph rather interesting, seeing the different expressions on Diana’s face as she walks along.  Using digital cameras today, this could never happen again. Progress. That’s something to think about, too.