David McCabe, who has died at age 80, was best-know for his photos taken over a year, documenting Andy Warhol’s studio, The Factory. The year was 1964/65; It was the height of the artist’s career. Warhol hired him to be the Factory’s official photographer, which gave McCabe privileged access to Warhol’s silver-foil-lined studio on East 47th Street.
McCabe was born in 1940 in Leicester, England, where he studied graphic design and photography. While in art school, he won an international photo competition sponsored by the magazine Practical Photography and was hired by the Mayflower photo studio in London. In 1960, he moved to New York City, where he first worked as an assistant and studied under Alexey Brodovitch, Henry Wolf, and Melvin Sokolsky. He received his first assignment with Condé Nast Publications in 1963. In 1964.
He created historically significant portraits of Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Gerard Malanga, and their inner circle of friends at the legendary Factory as it rose to prominence. It is a clear record of Warhol creating his work in this iconic inner-city environment. Warhol escorted McCabe to parties where he was privy to how he charmed the collectors into buying his work and meeting other artists such as Dali and Rauschenberg; McCabe’s wonderfully evocative photographs have left us unprecedented access to Warhol and the stars of the Factory.
Warhol invited McCabe to take photos of him at the architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut. Upon arriving, he couldn’t find Warhol, so he wandered the premises until he came across a guesthouse.
“As I was walking past, I glanced in, and there’s Andy, who saw me, and sits up in bed, grabs his sunglasses and puts them on,” McCabe in the film Glass House. “Then I notice fingers and a face appearing at the bottom of the sill. And I realised Andy was not alone. There’s someone in the room with him. And I hesitated. ‘This is an invasion of privacy.’ But, I thought: ‘Screw it. I’ll shoot it.’ So I took one shot and then quickly walked away. It turned out to be David Whitney,” the art collector and long term partner of Johnson.