Happy Birthday Norman Parkinson

Today would have been legendary fashion photographer Norman Parkinson's 100th birthday, the man many consider to be the 'father of fashion photography' and it's easy to see why.

Born Ronald William Parkinson Smith in London, 1913 he started his photographic career as an apprentice to court photographers Speaight & Sons before opening his own studio in 1934. By 1938 fashion & portrait photography was becoming his main line of work with him regularly contributing to The Bystander and shooting on location for the British edition of Harper's Bazaar.

During the war Parkinson split his time between farming and working as recconnaissance photographer for the RAF. But after the war he returned to the more glamorous world of fashion and joined Condé Nast where he remained until 1960 shooting iconic images for British & American Vogue.

In 1964 he emigrated to Tobago to focus on his passion for farming, but remained a dominant force in fashion photography until his death in 1990 shooting on location for Vogue, Life and Elle.





Parkinson shot his models in real life scenes, in exotic locations and with unusual props. A breath of fresh air to fashion photography. He wanted his models to, "be out there in the fields jumping over the hayocks".

To celebrate the wonderful life & works of this legendary photographer, BBC4 are showing a 60 minute documentary tonight at 9pm and if you want to see his images in all their glory there's a retrospective of his work, 'Lifework: Norman Parkinson's Century of Style' running at the National Theatre, London until the 12th May.

All images copyright Norman Parkinson / Norman Parkinson Archive.

Sun 21 Apr 2013

Posted under: Photography , Inspiration , Exhibition

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