Past display archive
28 October 2006 - 8 April 2007
by Bob Collins
Click here to explore all the works by Bob Collins in the collection
Collins (1924-2002) took up photography as a career in 1956 when he left his job in a watch-making firm to become a regular contributor to TV Mirror until 1961. For this magazine and others Collins documented the rise of singers and radio and television performers such as Tony Hancock, Tommy Steele and Shirley Bassey. His work also appeared in Picture Post, Illustrated and Everybody's Magazine. In addition Collins wrote and contributed illustrated articles for photographic magazines. In 1982 the Royal Photographic Society held a retrospective exhibition entitled Double Image.
Ten photographs of practising artists, taken in their studios in 1971 and 1972 provide a fascinating insight into their working methods as well as a snapshot of the art scene at that time. The images were originally intended as source material for Collins' photographic montages. This set of documentary portraits, not previously exhibited, were given to the National Portrait Gallery together with the original negatives in 2002.
David Hockney is photographed in his Notting Hill studio where he painted several celebrated double portraits, including Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy (1970-1, on show in the exhibition David Hockney Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery until 21 January 2007 (insert link to exhibition page)). Patrick Procktor, Hockney's contemporary, was also captured by Bob Collins, as well as more established painters including Feliks Topolski, Frank Auerbach, Leon Kossoff and John Bratby at work on one of his many self-portraits.