Photog Sued by Topless Muse

Fayel Tall claims Peter Beard has gotten rich off her photo

Rakish international fashion photographer Peter Beard is being sued again by a former topless model whom he captured in an iconic photograph in 1987.

In the suit filed at Manhattan Federal Court, Fayel Tall is accusing Beard—perhaps most famous for discovering supermodel Iman—for making a fortune off of her likeness while she remains "destitute."

This is the second time Tall has sued Beard, 73, a former fixture on the Manhattan nightlife party circuit who partied with the likes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie. In 1999 she claimed that she was never compensated for the use of the photo—shot on the banks of Lake Rudolph in Kenya.

That case settled, allowing Beard a 10-year license of the shoot, which expired last year, in exchange for an undisclosed amount of money.

Tall says that, despite the expiration of the license agreement, Beard continues to sell the now-famous shot and wants $1 million in compensation.

Beard is pushing back. “We sold two posters” for $500 each, says his wife, Nejma Beard. “It's not like we have a vast revenue stream coming from her.”

But in court papers, Tall claimed that the topless photo has made Beard "tremendous profits," one copy fetching more than $100,000.

“She was a beautiful girl. She had a chance at something and she blew it,” says Beard. “She used all the photos that Peter shot of her for her [modeling] book and then she blew it. She went and had kids, which is her prerogative, but then you can't come back and sue someone”


Publish date: April 29, 2011 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT