6 June - 30 October 2006
This display celebrates the photographic career and extraordinary life of the portraitist and photojournalist Michael Ward. After exploring other career paths including classical music and a brief spell in acting - including appearances in the film Miranda with Glynis Johns and the West End stage cast of Mister Roberts with Tyrone Power - Ward started his photographic career in 1958. He worked principally for the Evening Standard and contributed to the paper's Show Page. Each week he photographed a prominent celebrity of the day including Julie Christie, Barbara Windsor, Geraldine McEwan, Jackie Collins and Tsai Chin. Other assignments for teenage magazines introduced Michael Ward to the pop boom of the early 1960s. His 1964 colour photograph of the Rolling Stones is shown for the first time.
In 1965 Ward was first asked to work for the Sunday Times and for the next thirty years regularly contributed portrait photographs and news photography of actors, writers, painters and politicians. He retired in 1994 in order to organise his archives and write his autobiography.
In 2001 Ward's photographs were featured as part of the very popular Balcony Gallery exhibition Sixties Style. The National Portrait Gallery has over fifty of his portraits, spanning three decades, in the Photography Collection and this new display includes some of Ward's best known portrait photographs of many of the major stars of the 1960s. Portraits on display include Jane Asher, Julie Christie, Sarah Miles, and the pop artist Pauline Boty. Boty is shown in a rare colour photograph with her famous (now lost) pop art painting Scandal '63 which was based on the Profumo affair. Also exhibited is a photograph which references Boty's work Celia and her Heroes, showing David Hockney and his muse Celia Birtwell. Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s include those of the then editor of Tatler, Tina Brown and Ward's fifth and current wife the dancer and actress Elizabeth Seal who created memorable roles as Irma La Douce and Roxie Hart in Chicago.
These black and white portraits are shown alongside some of Ward's best known photo-journalism including a photograph of Shirley Williams campaigning to an invisible electorate for the 1977 Stechford bye-election and two women shoppers oblivious to the Belfast troubles going on around them.