ICONIC SHOT: Bruce McBroom

By SnapSquad - May 28, 2019

In 1976 Photographer Bruce McBroom, a graduate from the Photography Department of the Los Angeles Trade Tech College was a freelancer for rock stars and a familiar of the Hollywood picture studios. While mixing with actors, he met a girl from Texas named Farrah Fawcett. Thinking back, Bruce remembers how young Farrah had no idea then of how beautiful she was. He did few headshots for her and when she got the part in Charlie’s Angels, ABC asked him for a shot of Farrah in a bikini.

Glamour need not be so complicated; Farrah did not have a bikini (she did not like herself in one) and as none was provided, she simply put on her own swimsuit (that covered a lot), did her own curls and make-up, took a pose with a Mexican blanket for background and oh yes, she flashed her amazing smile!  

McBroom told Time Magazine: “It was Farrah’s pose, Farrah’s suit, Farrah’s idea.” It was Farrah too who picked that particular shot among others. History was made: the Farrah Fawcett Red Swimsuit poster sold over 12 million copies around the world. The record remains unmatched yet, something the ABC representative did not see coming when he first rejected the shots (no bikini!). Luckily he was wise enough to realize that just about everyone else loved the picture and he changed his mind.

A few months later, Farrah got Bruce to do this time a bikini poster of all the Angels.
So what was it that really made this shot become the bestselling poster of all times (according to the Smithsonian)? 

In 1976, no one knew Sarah Fawcett or Charlie’s Angels (the series came out 6 months after the shot was published); was it the girl next door effect? Farrah’s fresh beauty and her amazing smile? The curls? It definitely was not the bikini, and Bruce can only come up with “I don’t know”; but I am pretty sure that it was the result of a magic combination of an exceptional model and an inspired professional photographer or in Bruce’s words: “It was just me and Farrah and my Nikon”.

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