He has photographed it all. Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol, Angelina Jolie, trips with Pope John Paul II, royal weddings, a night with Marilyn…Here’s a little inspiration from the living legend Douglas Kirkland.
“I always considered, with every shoot, I was on trial; every time I pick up my camera and start out on the relationship, I am at degree zero. There is no coasting.” Image: Ann Margret on chopper 1971 © Douglas Kirkland.
They say his photographic career wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t been for Elizabeth Taylor. She agreed to let him take pictures for LOOK magazine and the shots put him on the map. Image: The Prince of Coiffure Alexandre de Paris with Elizabeth Taylor in 1963 © Douglas Kirkland
‘I was 27, but mentally like a 16-year-old, alone with Marilyn Monroe, and only a white silk sheet draped across her nude body. Can you imagine the charge I felt as a young man?’. It was on 17 November 1961 that the photos were published, nine months before the star’s death. Image: © Douglas Kirkland
He met Coco Chanel when she was 79 years old and he was still in his 20s. He photographed her fashion and she believed in him. ‘She said to me that i should always reach further, and that became the symbol of my life later’. Image: Coco Chanel © Douglas Kirkland. Source: “A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph”
He also took legendary shots of the irresistible and unforgettable Bardot. Photos that capture this french beauty, a cocktail of indolence and insolence, who remains a source of inspiration for the stars and visual artists of today. Image: Brigitte Bardot, 1965, © Douglas Kirkland
Angelina told him she wanted pictures in fabric like he did with Marilyn. ‘We had the same things, we had the bed,the white sheets and all the elements we used for Marilyn,’ Kirkland said. ‘The interesting thing was that Angelina started as Marilyn, but got better and better and created her own Image during the shooting’. Image: Angelina Jolie © Douglas Kirkland
‘We are only limited by our own imagination as Photographers, we must say can I do it better? can I reach further? can I accomplish more? I’m always looking around, questioning myself. People can do much better if they try to keep reaching for something. Never remain on the status quo.You have to be creative, that is the power of great Photography, or any Art’. Image: Katherine Hepburn © Douglas Kirkland
‘This has been an exciting world for me,” said Kirkland to the Telegraph. “I’ll be 80 next year and my first deep love is still taking pictures. I love it, I savour it, and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can stand.’ Image: Peter O’Toole, 1964, © Douglas Kirkland
Oh, and his son is Mark Kirkland, the director of the famous TV cartoon series ‚‘ The Simpsons’‘.
What an extraordinary life. And still running.