A pop icon, a sex symbol, and an enduring queen. When Madonna released Like A Virgin in 1984, she established herself through subversion and cannonballed into the centre of popular culture, on the precipice of immortalised stardom.
On a promotional tour of Like a Virgin in 1985, before it became one of the best-selling albums of all time, photographer Kenji Wakasugi was commissioned by Playboy Weekly Excite to photograph the rising star. He had 45-minutes, and within that time had the opportunity to capture the energy of a singer who was in the process of consolidating herself in pop culture forever.
Now, the memory of that high-spirited shoot has been enshrined in a limited-edition photobook by Wakasugi named Adore, published by NJG. The book contains never-before-seen imagery of the shoot in question and is bookended by more of Wakasugi's photographs taken in the 1980s.
“It is almost a miracle that 36 years later, they now became this art book,” Wakasugi told Interview. “There she was, inside my camera. Thank you, Madonna.”
In the images, the scene is paired back. Madonna lounges on what Wakasugi said was a pink couch that he had covered in plastic, while the musical supernova wore her own clothes: a signature corset-style top, multiple crosses hanging from long chains, the 'healthy swimmer' crop top, and the iconic belt buckle that reads "boy toy".
As imagined, the book won't be republished. There are only 800 limited-edition copies available, with 100 of those copies featuring Wakasugi’s signature alongside a numbered digital print (!).
The book captures the eternal youth of the moment, the energy and spirit present of someone walking the line of superstardom, which is what makes the photographs feel so special. Intimate, youthful, and a reminder that nobody does it like the queen of pop.
Both editions of Adore are available to purchase for a limited time from the NJG website.