We have written this before. Just when you think that there will be no more Iggy the Eskimo news, she hits you hard, surprising the fans, posthumously reaching from those Elysian Fields where there is a special psychedelic corner for free spirits who are not square, we are sure of that. It is her way of telling us: don’t you forget about me.
Be assured, Iggy, we won’t.
The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit is a cabinet of curiosities, situated in Belgium, and its most precious objects have been brought in by an international network of Iggy admirers.
Before the Church started in 2008, all that was known about Iggy – with the exception of the Madcap photo sessions – was that she could be found in an NME article of November 1966. (See: Bend It!)
2008. Dolly Rocker, aka Gaby or Gabriela, who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, recognised Iggy in a Rank Organisation documentary. This more or less triggered the start of this blog. (See: IN Gear)
2012. PhiPhi Chavana, from Hong Kong, found a picture of Iggy in a Music Maker magazine, belonging to a collector in Sydney (Australia). (See: Iggy - a new look in festivals)
2015. John Cavanagh, from Glasgow, Scotland, came across a CD compilation with Iggy on its cover. (See: Bend It (2015): New Iggy Picture Found)
2015. Jacinta Start, Australia, was pleasantly surprised to be confronted with Iggy’s picture, originally from the Holmes-Lebel archives in France. (See: Iggy - another festival, another look)
2018. We were almost simultaneously warned by Nigel Young (GB), Antonio Jesùs (Spain) and Alex Hoffmann (Germany) that Iggy was in a documentary, with an alternative bunch of aristocratic hippies, travelling in a horse-carriage from London to Port Eliot, St. Germans. (See: Paint Your Wagon: Iggy movie unearthed!)
2020. On the first spring day of 2020 a message arrived from Rostov-On-Don, Russia, to inform the Church that an unknown Iggy picture had mysteriously appeared on a Russian social network.
Here is the story… so far.
On the 21st of March the Reverend received an incoming message from Vita Fillipova, who is a charming acquaintance since the Late Night Syd Barrett Discussion Room Forum days, where she was known as (Green Eyed) Betsy.
The post had been there since the first of March 2019 and Google searches initially led to nothing. Lucky there are several other search engines around and Yandex, not coincidentally a Russian one as well, found the picture on three different Tumblr blogs and, good for us, in a better quality. From there it could be traced back to its original uploader: Always Retro, who posted it somewhere in 2018.
Unfortunately, since the big porn breakdown from end 2018 Tumblr has become a shadow of its former self. If a Tumblr blog has been defined as ‘sensitive’, whatever that means, it becomes virtually impossible to explore it. Although certainly not NSFW Always Retro could only be opened in private mode, which means that looking for a specific date or tag was made impossible. Searching for the picture was like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack.
It took some extra digging and quite some luck and finally the source could be found in a gallery on ImageVenue, an anonymous image-sharing website.
Amateur Photographer, as the name suggests, is a British photography magazine that exists since 1884, one year before Kodak marketed the film roll. It still exists today focusing on digital and analogue photography.
Issue 142 of the fifth of August 1970 had an article about 'Glamour On The Beach' which has always been a pretext to have some mild eroticism. The cover girl could possibly be actress Ann Sidney, aka Miss World 1964. She was pictured by Ken Howard who worked for several photo magazines. For the article itself, pictures of Raquel Welch and Alexandra Bastedo were used. (Although the magazine is called Amateur Photographer most of the pictures inside are made by professionals.)
Starting on page 28 is an article with the title 'London Salon 1970 – the Top Print'. It has a picture of minor celebrity Dania Faber (Montez). She was a pin-up model from Bombay who looked for fame and fortune in London, trying to become an actress. About a dozen pictures have survived from her and in the mid-seventies she disappeared completely from the radar. It was thanks to her picture (and to a collector's forum) that we could trace the person who owns and scanned the Amateur Photographer magazine.
And, as you have probably guessed by now, one of those scans contains a picture of a woman who looks uncannily like Iggy the Eskimo, taken by the photographer Feri Lukas.
Not much is known of Feri Lukas, other than that he was a photo journalist for the music magazine Record Mirror, under the wings of the world famous photographer Dezo Hoffmann, who began working for the magazine in 1955. Lukas certainly worked for Record Mirror in 1966 as he is mentioned in a Sonny & Cher article 'You Lucky People' from the third of September.
An internet search for Lukas only results in a couple of pictures. A few of mods and punks in the seventies, one of Muhammad Ali and one of an old man sitting on a bench that can be found on several religious inspired blogs. That is all there is to find. Dezo Hoffmann’s studio had different (rock) photographers who became famous afterwards, but Feri unfortunately isn’t one of them.
It doesn’t need to be said that the slightly fantastical Facebook group Birdie Hop (if you look up who started it you’ll understand why) was immediately buzzing with dozens of reactions from Syd Barrett and Iggy fans. (Several über-cool members also warned the Church about the picture.)
As always reactions were divided between believers and non-believers.
“The lips and eyes are off.” said one. “Their proportions may look similar at first glance, but there are differences as well. I don't think it is her.”
But others had the following to say, after they compared the ‘Pocahontas’ picture with this one: “She has the same makeup under the eyes. (…) The face shape is round like hers, and the eyes look the same to me. (…) It’s so hard to say but I'm gonna guess yes.”
And: “This just convinced me more! The mouth, the slight overbite, the round nose, the round face. Exactly the same (to me).”
But what does the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit has to say about this all?
Well, we are convinced this is Iggy, but up till now there is no proof and any evidence is – like American lawyers love to say – circumstantial. But as usual, Iggy will have the last word.
The Iggy Archives
The Reverend delved into his archive that contains transcripts of conversations with Iggy. One day, in 2011, we started talking about her modelling career and the people who shot her. Iggy Rose:
You should get in touch with the archive department of Melody Maker to track down those 2 photographers. I am pretty sure they were acquainted with my wonderful guardian angel who was freelancing for all the top music papers.
At the time this sentence was a mystery to us, but now it’s starting to get clear. According to Iggy there were three different photographers who took her pictures for different (music) magazines. Could it be that Feri Lukas was one of those, perhaps even the man she described as her ‘guardian angel’?
East vs West
Here is what she had to say about him.
He fled his native motherland when Communist Russia invaded it with the blessing of America and what was once Great Britain.
The above sentence is rather important for our investigation, as it describes the photographer as someone with East-European roots.
Later on there were different uprisings in the east. Iggy could be referring to the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 that was stopped when the Soviet army invaded Budapest. Approximatively 200 000 Hungarians fled as refugees. Other uprisings took place in East Germany (1953), Poland (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968, but by then Feri Lukas was already in Great Britain).
Lukas (or Lúkas, Lukaš, Lukáš...) is pretty well established in Hungary. The surname can also be found in Czechia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia,... These countries (minus one: West Germany) were put under Russian hegemony after the second world war.
We can be pretty sure that Feri Lukas was Hungarian, or at least from the part of Europe that was behind the iron curtain.
(It may, or may not, be a coincidence but Feri Lukas’ boss Dezo Hoffmann was born in the Kingdom of Hungary, in a region that later became Czechoslovakia and that is now Slovakia.)
It is time to put two and two together.
- In a chat from 2011, Iggy talked about a freelancing music magazine photographer with East European roots
- In a photo magazine from 1970 a picture of a woman who looks exactly like Iggy is found.
- The picture is from a photographer, with an obvious East European name, who happened to be a photographer for a music magazine in the late sixties.
Needless to say this is enough circumstantial evidence to convince us. The girl in the picture must be Iggy.
More from Iggy
Once Iggy started talking there was no way stopping her. So it is no wonder she had more things to say about Feri Lukas, during that chat in 2011.
Anyway he lived in Earls Court, at the gay end. I didn’t have a clue and who cares. He was my protector and provider and took thousands of the most stunning pics. He introduced me to top agents, Ready Steady Go and took me to the first Glastonbury festival and the Isle of Wight.
He would always take pictures of me as well. I wish I could remember which festival or what music paper where he had got me on the front page, but I do remember I had plaits and a band round my forehead... I looked like Pocahontas, the red Indian squaw.
That is the picture that was taken at the 1967 National Jazz, Pop, Ballads and Blues Festival at Windsor. (See: Iggy - a new look in festivals)
Later on he introduced me to top modelling agencies and trendy photographers. I even got to meet the great David Puttman for a Camay soap TV-ad where I was lying in a bath with lots of bubbles. We spent ages in his office giggling and laughing while he tried to apologise. I was the wrong type as the soap company was looking for big blue-eyed blondes like Twiggy or Jean [Shrimpton].
So there we have it. Not only a new Iggy picture has been unearthed, but we may also have found who was behind Iggy’s legendary Pocahontas picture.
A last word from Iggy
Iggy also remembered that a good friend of Feri Lukas (if she was still talking about the same man) was ‘the singer of the musical Hair’, Murray Head. Just another celebrity she encountered.
To access the photographer’s studio you had to climb on a ladder, something Iggy did multiple times. Probably that studio was just below the roof of the house. Bit by bit that place was converted into a huge Iggy shrine.
I remember one photographer who had covered a whole studio wall with pics of me. There was a whole batch of rather naughty ones. I hope they will never be discovered.
Please excuse us, dear Iggy, but we would like to hope the opposite. For historic research, obviously.
The Church wishes to thank: Bafupo, CBGB, Drosophila, Vita Filippova,
Sara Harp, Alexander Peter Hoffmann, Elizabeth J., Lisa Newman, Old Man
Peace, Joe Perry, Brynn Petty, Catherine Provenzano and the many
contributors at Birdie Hop.
♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Some hi-res pictures can be found at our Tumblr page with the Feri Lukas tag.