Judi Dench, August 1977
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Judi Dench, August 1977

Frank Martin


There are rave reviews – and there are the reviews that the Royal Shakespeare Company got for its 1976 production of Macbeth, starring Ian McKellen and Judi Dench. The Guardian’s Michael Billington declared he would remember the sound of the daggers rattling in Macbeth’s hands until his dying day. The play transferred to London’s Donmar Warehouse – then called The Warehouse – in September 1977, which was the occasion for this relaxed, intimate portrait by Guardian photographer Frank Martin at Dench’s home in Hampstead, north London. “She is a modest, practical, straight-talking woman who wears denim, no make-up and a borrowed plastic mac for lunch in a Hampstead restaurant,” wrote the journalist Janet Watts of Dench, in the article accompanying the photograph. Martin used only natural light to capture his subject’s direct gaze, which is reflected and lit beautifully in the mirror.


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