Raquel Welch is an American actress and singer. She first won attention for her role in Fantastic Voyage (1966), after which she won a contract with 20th Century Fox. They lent her contract to a British studio, for whom she made One Million Years B.C. (1966).
Voted by Playboy magazine as the "Most Desired Woman" of the '70s, Raquel Welch is photographed for a publicity still for the film 'One Million Years BC', circa 1966. The iconic photo was deemed too controversial for promotional use at the time and wasn’t published until 30 years later, on the cover of The Sunday Times Magazine.
In 1966, Terry O’Neill went to the filming of One Million Years B.C. At the time Hollywood had just reached the point when the censorship laws that had choked film making for about forty years had finally become a thing of this past. According to Terry O’Neill “the filmmakers knew that a scantily clad Raquel Welch was going to draw all sort of attention,” and “Raquel, as beautiful as she is, was still a bit shy about being filmed in her now infamous fur bikini, told me she thought she’d be crucified by the press for it. And I thought, ‘That’s it!”
“I somehow got 20th Century Fox studios to set up a giant crucifix for me and I took a series of shots, in colour and black and white, from different angles. They are beautiful shots but we both looked at them once the film was developed and we both got a little nervous. I was brought up Catholic and I did study to become a priest for a while. I feared people might think the wrong thing, so I decided not to publish the photos.”
Thirty years later this is now one of Terry O’Neill’s most reproduced images, appealing to people like Kourtney Kardashian who purchased this print to hang in her home. O’Neill has said that he believes this photograph of Raquel Welch especially resonates with women because, “I’m told, they identify with the idea that other people can make women feel horrible about themselves. Raquel is beautiful and the media often made it sound like that was all there was to her. They did crucify her at several points in her career. Younger women, especially, have told me that this a piece of ‘feminist art’. I can’t imagine what the reaction would have been to this in the late 60’s.”
Terry O’Neill is one of the world’s most collected photographers with work hanging in national art galleries and private collections worldwide. From presidents to pop stars he has photographed the frontline of fame for over six decades.
O’Neill began his career at the birth of the 1960s. While other photographers concentrated on earthquakes, wars and politics, O’Neill realized that youth culture was a breaking news story on a global scale and began chronicling the emerging faces of film, fashion and music who would go on to define the Swinging Sixties. By 1965 he was being commissioned by the biggest magazines and newspapers in the world.
No other living photographer has embraced the span of fame, capturing the icons of our age from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela, from Frank Sinatra and Elvis to Amy Winehouse, from Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot to Nicole Kidman, as well as every James Bond from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig and many other of your favorite celerities, models and famous political figures, royalty and fashion iconic names in fashion.
He photographed The Beatles and The Rolling Stones when they were still struggling young bands in 1963, pioneered backstage reportage photography with David Bowie, Elton John, The Who, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry and many more. His images have adorned historic rock albums, movie posters and international magazine covers.
Limited Edition Archival Pigment Print. Numbered and Co-Signed by Terry O'Neill and Raquel Welch.