Baby Doc Duvalier and Haiti by Pat Booth, 1977


On my desk was a fascinating volume, Master Photographers, edited by Pat Booth. Booth, a talented artist who found fame thrice-over as a model, photographer, and writer. She was a Sixties icon who appeared on the covers of Vogue and Harpers & Queen, and posed for photographers such as Norman Parkinson and David Bailey before embarking on her own photography career when her modeling life ended before she was 23.

Her second career was kickstarted when her husband bought her a camera and she toured the Indonesian archipelago and New Guinea, happily snapping away at unclad headhunters. She photographed David Bowie and Bianca Jagger, the Queen Mother, and several other famous men and women of the 70s and the 80s.

Perhaps her most exciting assignment was on the the 26-year-old Haitian President, Jean-Claude Duvalier, son of Papa Doc. Duvalier, known as ‘Baby Doc’ allowed her access mainly because she was a model, blonde and beautiful. She went with reporter Brian Moynahan and Baby Doc asked if they would like to take a ride round the island. They tagged along with the president and produced one of the most dramatic stories for the Sunday Times Magazine. Booth’s photos of Baby Doc were warm and intimate. Her political assessment, however, was not too profound. Having found good rapport with the dictator, she was outraged when Moynahan produced a hostile article for The Sunday Times.

Later Booth became an interviewer of photographers and a prolific writer of romance novels. Master Photographers was her seminal contribution to photography, and for this, she even managed to interview reclusive Eve Arnold who never gave interviews in her later life.

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