From Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury to HM The Queen herself; from Bowie to Bianca Jagger; Viggo Mortensen to Vivienne Westwood; Andy Warhol to Raquel Welch; Debbie Harry to the Dalai Lama: it seems there is no one of glamorous note upon whom Richard Young hasn’t trained his lens.

The consummate society snapper, Richard always gets his shot, and not just because he happens to be in possession of an infallible eye (which he does). Simply, celebrities trust him implicitly and, as such, he unerringly captures the intimate moments denied to others.

This month marks the unveiling of his latest project, Langan’s, a photographic memoir of his time spent snapping all the luminaries – otherwise known as his friends – who have graced the iconic Mayfair restaurant over the years. Within its fascinating glossy pages are portraits of John McEnroe, Jack Nicholson, Mick Jagger, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra David Hockney, Joan Collins and Elton John, among many glitzy others.

With an introduction from Richard Shepherd and actor Michael Caine, who were the original founders of the restaurant along with the late and legendarily uproarious hellraiser, Peter Langan, the book is an ode to the years of decadence, of heady glamour and, most of all, fun. It is the place, after all, that was single-handedly responsible for the birth of the paparazzi, and thus the love-hate celebrity-media dynamic that has prevailed ever since. Langan’s may have fallen prey to the pandemic before rising from the ashes this month as a different beast under new auspices, but the old spirit of the place is alive and well within the pages of Richard’s testament to the days of plenty.


Here, Richard tells us who he’d still love to photograph and where, and which celebrity left him helplessly starstruck.

Langan's is published by the Richard Young Gallery on 27 October; £50

Images from Langan’s © Richard Young; Rowland Scherman; Ben Broomfield

Favourite place in all the world?

I actually have two and cannot chose: London and Los Angeles. London because it is my home city. But I love the sunshine and ocean of LA. I have lots of friends there and it feels like a home-from-home.

Dream holiday?

Sonueva Fushi, the Maldives. I have been lucky enough to have visited several times over the years, and it truly is paradise. I will never say no to a holiday there.


Most coveted item right now?

I don’t need anything material in my life right now. I have a beautiful family and wife, and that is all I need.

Proudest professional moment to date?

The proudest achievement is that I am a self-taught photographer. I managed to carve out a career for myself, and never imagined the success I have found. Also, receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts in 2013 felt like an achievement.

Your dream future project?

To have one photographic session with Bob Dylan, one-on-one, in Malibu by the ocean.


Who has been your most inspiring mentor, professionally or personally?

David Bailey is the man I need to thank for bringing me in to shoot all his Ritz Magazine parties in the very early 70s. If it wasn’t for this man, I would not be where I am now.


Where would you live if you could live anywhere?

Los Angeles. The weather suits the clothes I wear.


What book is on your nightstand/ kindle right now?

Tim Spicer’s recent book, A Dangerous Enterprise. This is an extremely interesting book about a very secret and very successful clandestine unit from The Royal Navy, crossing the channel to save escaped POWs and spies during the Second World War. What makes this particularly interesting to me is that the book is predominantly about David Birkin, a Royal Navy lieutenant commander and World War II spy, and also the father of the iconic Jane Birkin, who I have photographed with Serge Gainsbourg over the years.

Best film you’ve seen recently?

A bit late in the day but I just watched The Big Lebowski. Loved it! I had heard about this film over the years, but for some reason, I had never ever watched it – it was made 30 years ago! During lockdown, with too much time on my hands, I decided to finally catch up with this movie, which always features on top movie lists. I am also a massive Sam Elliott fan. If you've seen this, you will know what I mean. It's a cult film.

Best binge-watched TV show?

Rick Stein’s Long Weekend and Tipping Point. I love food and travel programmes, and I love answering the questions on Tipping Point, which I always seem to get wrong!

Top podcast of the moment (and why)?

Well I am a little biased, but my daughter Hannah Harley Young has the best podcast around at the moment: Crazy Sexy Food. It is featured in the ‘best food podcasts to listen right to now list’. She speaks to guests about their life using food as the vehicle for conversation. I’m so impressed with Hannah – she produces and presents the show and has managed to attract some really interesting guests. She’s about is about to embark on her fifth series.

Your hero?

My wife Susan and her ability to take on any task that comes her way and make a success of it. Without her, I would not be talking to you now!

Favourite dish to cook?

Baked beans on toast, with a fried egg and a rasher of Lidgate’s maple streaky bacon on the side.

Richard Young Langans

Favourite café/ restaurant (and why)?

My favourite café is my local, Adriana’s on St Helens Gardens, around the corner from me. A real mix of people. You could be sitting next to David Cameron – or even me!

Most useful thing on your desk?

My laptop and my diaries.

Which five people, dead or alive, would you find most interesting to be stuck in a lift with?

Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, WC Fields, Groucho Marx and Tommy Cooper. I don’t know how Marilyn would deal with this crew!

STUCK IN A LIFT Monroe circa1953

Favourite building?

The Chrysler Building New York City. I have a lot of happy memories of it from when I lived in NYC in the 70s.


Favourite Instagrammer or tweeter?

I think my own Instagram is actually pretty interesting @richardyounggallery. It is not just stories and photographs of the amazing talents I have met over the years, but a photographic essay of my life: my daily walk in the park, family celebrations, et cetera. It’s a personal glimpse into my life.

Your screensaver?

My screensaver is a photograph taken in Los Angeles after a wonderful lunch at Nobu Malibu. As I looked across the room, I spied my all-time favourite musician, Neil Young. I was in agony: should I go over and introduce myself? Would he remember me? Would it be cool? Of course, I didn’t do anything. I paid my bill, got in my car and, as I pulled out, I noticed that Neil was in his car right in front of me. As I am such a fan, I just followed him down highway for a few miles and my screensaver is the shot I took of the back of Neil’s car!

What would be your epitaph?

‘I tried my best.’

By Nancy Alsop
October 2021

David Yarrow
Bethan Gray, Furniture Designer
Alison Jackson