Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was a celebrated and renowned fashion photographer. He pioneered epic storytelling with his images, taking portrait and fashion photography beyond the formality of his predecessors and injecting an effortless and casual elegance into the art. His photographs helped create the age of the supermodel. They made him the photographer of choice for celebrities, artists, Presidents, and Prime Ministers. He was a permanent fixture at historical moments, photographing the British Royal Family in private and public, as well as leading figures from the entertainment world. Subjects include Audrey Hepburn, The Beatles, Twiggy, David Bowie, Iman, Jerry Hall, and countless others. Parkinson dazzled the world and inspired his peers with sparkling inventiveness as a portrait and fashion photographer in a career that spanned seven decades.
Parkinson worked for many publications, notably Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, and other international magazines, bringing him worldwide recognition. He reinvented himself and his fashion photography throughout his career. From his ground-breaking, spontaneous images of the 1930s, through photographs during the war years and the Swinging Sixties, to the exotic locations of the 1970s and 1980s, Parkinson continued to create new bodies of work. By the end of his life, he had become a household name, the recipient of a British Order of Chivalry (CBE), an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and the subject of a large-scale retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Yet, fewer than 200 of his photographs have been seen or exhibited outside their initial publication. His archives provide a historic record, rich to explore.