Monday, November 22, 2010

Marianne Faithful's Nemesis Photographer Dies

One of Australia's most popular photographers Peter Carrette has died of a heart attack.

 Regarded as the gentleman of the paparazzi, London born Carrette first came to prominence when he photographed Marianne Faithful in a drug coma in her hospital bed in 1969.
Faithful had travelled to Australia with Mick Jagger who was to star in a film about Ned Kelly. She had over-dosed after it was claimed she had discovered Jagger in bed with another woman.

Carrette borrowed a white doctor's coat and stethoscope and sneaked into Faithful's room, took the photo that was flashed around the world as one of the first examples of intrusive photography. Earlier this year when Faithful was in town for an arts festival, she told the Shuttle she'd still like to give the snapper a "quick boot in the backside". However she conceded she had forgiven him.

After studying photography in London, Carrette travelled to Sydney and snared a job as Sir Frank Packer's copy boy when the media mogul owned the Daily Mirror newspaper.

Once established, he worked for various publications photographing news stories. He gatecrashed the US invasion of Grenada by hiring a smuggler's boat while the world's media waited for official transport in Barbados, worked in New York for 6 years and  photographed  for Vogue in Paris for 2.

More recently he and another photographer squirted the actor Heath Ledger with water pistols at a Sydney film premiere-again in an action where the film of a startled Ledger was flashed around the world. Briefly banned by film companies from red carpet premieres, Carrette later made peace with Ledger shortly before he died in New York.

Carrette also supported an orphanage in Cambodia by donating the fees received from his exclusive candid photos of celebrities often taken around the beach at Bondi.

 For the past few years Carrette had been running his own studio and photo distribution service from a Bondi flat where he had lived for the past 20 years. The flat is owned by his good friend , the actor Jack Thompson.

Carrette was concentrating on studio portraits and had just completed a series of studio shots of Danni Minogue when he died suddenly on Sunday evening from heart failure while working at his computer.