On Images: Douglas Kirkland, 1935-2022

On Images: Douglas Kirkland, 1935-2022

“I mentioned, ‘Think about what it might imply when you would give me the chance to {photograph} you. She paused, then mentioned, ‘Come again tomorrow evening at 8:30.’” -Douglas Kirkland

Elizabeth Taylor, one of many greatest film stars of the Nineteen Sixties, had turned down Douglas Kirkland’s request to {photograph} her for Look journal. It was the 25-year-old’s first project for the journal. His quiet, respectful request received him the session with the star. Douglas Kirkland died on October 2.

Profession launch

Elizabeth Taylor had not had portraits executed shortly. Her present images had been all by paparazzi. Douglas Kirkland’s 1961 picture of the star was his first of many covers for Look journal. The photograph ran in magazines everywhere in the world.

The success of that session actually launched his profession. That 12 months he photographed Judy Garland for a month, Shirley MacLaine, Marlene Dietrich and naturally, Marilyn Monroe. It was a really busy good 12 months.

The films

Douglas Kirkland was by no means an official unit photographer for movement photos. But he labored on over 100 and fifty motion pictures doing particular pictures for magazines. He photographed behind-the-scenes and staged setups in methods the general public relations shooters with their sq. format Rolleiflex cameras couldn’t.

His film work was typically seen as posters for movies in theatres. The Sound of Music, 2001: A Area Odessey, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Child and Out of Africa had been a few of his options.

Watching cinematographers

“I’ve a fascination with the ability of cinema and watching the way it all works,” Douglas Kirkland mentioned. “I realized a lot watching cinematographers work, seeing rushes and exams of lighting and lenses. I positively have extra refined skills in the present day because of watching cinematographers. I could use a strobe mild or a mirror or reflector moderately than the lights they typically use, however the concepts about mild that I’ve realized on film units have affected me enormously. As a nonetheless photographer, you need to use the sunshine that’s there, possibly add some mild, and even mild [the shot] fully, however a cinematographer should consider quite a lot of issues nonetheless photographers don’t want to think about, corresponding to digicam motion, continuity and the place you might be within the story. How lucky to be a photographer and be so near such work!”

Douglas Kirkland obtained the American Society of Cinemtographers’ Presidents Award in 2011.


Douglas Kirkland’s work is within the collections of the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences, The Smithsonian and the Annenberg Area for Images and others. His work is in ten monographs are collected in his e-book A Life in Photos: The Douglas Kirkland Monographs.

On Photography: Douglas Kirkland, 1935-2022
Kevin Ames & Douglas Kirkland Photograph by Greg Strelecki

A private notice

I met Douglas Kirkland and his spouse, Françoise after I was a member of the board of administrators for the ASMP Atlanta/SE chapter. I had labored with Canon and their Explorer of Gentle program to sponsor him to return to Atlanta and make a presentation of his work with our chapter. It took quite a lot of backwards and forwards to get every part organized. And it was definitely worth the effort.

The occasion occurred within the Tent on the promoting and imaging college The Inventive Circus. After he was completed, the pinnacle of the Picture division requested Douglas if he would possibly make some photos. Douglas fortunately agreed. I used to be invited to share the couch for a second throughout the shoot.

The night was spectacular. He was witty and enjoyable. His tales advised of what I take into account the golden age of glamourous pictures. On the best way again to his lodge, we chatted and he and Françoise gave me a replica of his e-book “An Night With Marilyn” that he had personally inscribed to me. Evidently, I treasure it.

The story of the well-known shoot as advised by Douglas Kirkland to Anthony Mason on CBS This Morning is on this video.

Sources: American Society of Cinematographers, Douglas Kirkland.

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