BOOK REVIEW: Madonna 66

Craig Hanlon-Smith November 29, 2016

Starlight, Star bright.


In June 1983 a well-known New York casting director and producer, asked her photographer son Richard
 to drop everything and head over to Manhattan’s Lower East Side to take polaroids of a young and upcoming performer.

The production team was preparing a modern-day treatment of the classic fairy tale Cinderella and in this New York City fable that would satirise the rock music world, the central character was to be re-named ‚ÄėCinde Rella‚Äô, perhaps one of the reasons the film was never made. But the buzz around the project was that the lead was to be played by an emerging dance music artist with a couple of moderate hits to her name: Madonna Ciccone.


Six weeks before the release of her eponymous debut album in late July 1983, Richard Corman photographed the 24-year old singer in a range of different set-ups 
at her brother Christopher’s apartment. And although the young woman in the centre of each shot is instantly familiar, taken some fifteen months before her infamous garter revealing floor roll at the inaugural MTV music awards which would propel her to the top of the US music charts for more than twenty years, there’s a excitable naivety that has in more recent years been replaced by an all-knowing dominance. An expectation of everything yet to come.

For over thirty years Cormon believed he had lost the polaroids until whilst on a recent apartment move in New York and a review of many unlabeled boxes, he rediscovered the collection. Produced here, quite simply are the contents of that almost lost forever bundle of 66 photographs.


Richard Corman‚Äôs photography has been described by Ken Burns, documentarian and director as an ‚Äúartistic vision dedicated to the highest aspirations of human endeavor…the photographs record in big moments and small, among the famous and ordinary, the gifted and challenged, larger truths relevant to all of us.‚ÄĚ

As a portrait photographer, Corman has worked with a thrilling breadth of subjects from Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela to esteemed actors at the top of their profession including Robert De Niro, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Tilda Swinton.

Corman, a native New Yorker had unique working relationships with various artists before they reached international recognition, including Madonna, Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring in the early 80s, all of whom would later shape their own genres within their artistic fields beyond recognition.

Published by independents NJG, ‚ÄėMadonna 66‚Äô, a must for any Madonna fan is a ‚Äėlimited edition‚Äô publication of 500 ‚Äėstrictly limited‚Äô signed and numbered by Richard Corman with a signed print (¬£100) and a further 1000 books signed and numbered (¬£60).

Featuring all 66 previously unpublished Polaroid images of Madonna (a selection shown here), shot on Friday June 17, 1983, the 66 accompany a 14-page film treatment ‚ÄėCinde Rella‚Äô all 164 pages housed in a flesh pink hardback cover, bound by a‚Ä® 2 inch thick black rubber band symbolic of Madonna‚Äôs rubber bracelets, worn in the published collection.

For more info and how to get your hands on a copy, click here: