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John Vickers

(died 1976), Theatre photographer and photographic assistant to Angus McBean

Artist associated with 5 portraits
John Vickers began his career by working as assistant to photographer Angus McBean in the 1930s. From 1939 until the time of his death, he ran his own studio. After the war he became well known as a theatre photographer working for theatres including the Old Vic. He photographed over 1,000 productions and his portraits of actors, writers and musicians gained him a high reputation. For the last twenty years of his career he worked mainly on advertising and commercial photography.

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Vivien Leigh; Angus McBean, by Angus McBean, by  John Vickers - NPG P901

Vivien Leigh; Angus McBean

by Angus McBean, by John Vickers
bromide print, 1938
NPG P901

Angus McBean and Vivien Leigh, by John Vickers - NPG Ax183862

Angus McBean and Vivien Leigh

by John Vickers
vintage bromide print, 1938
NPG Ax183862

Peter Gellhorn, by John Vickers - NPG x16340

Peter Gellhorn

by John Vickers
bromide print, 1950s
NPG x16340

Web image not currently available

Lillian Gish

by John Vickers
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 28 August 1946
NPG x193320

Web image not currently available

Frederick Ermin Woodhouse

by John Vickers
halftone reproduction tear sheet, published 28 September 1949
NPG x193369

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Paul Del Bravo

01 April 2019, 05:16

Between 1968 and 1970 John Vickers taught Photographic Business Studies as part of the Diploma in Professional Photography course offered by Ealing School of Photography, later absorbed into Thames Valley University. I was fortunate to attend his weekly classes - often one of only two students who saw great value in the wisdom he so freely shared. (The other was cinematographer Simon Kossoff, son of actor David Kossoff.)

John Vickers treated us not only to detailed explanations of how many of his noted theatrical portraits and staged action shots for front-of-house posters were achieved, but also a wealth of experience of the essentials of running a successful photographic studio from strategies for marketing right down to dealing with tax and insurance, and how to calculate a pricing structure to ensure profitability. All learned the hard way over many years.

His techniques for theatrical lighting stood me in good stead when I moved into television, and his approach to portraiture gave me an insight into creating successful working relationships with clients and models which has stayed with me over the years. I shall always be grateful to John for his professional generosity and the inspiration which he gave.

- Paul Del Bravo, TV Lighting Director and Stills Photographer, New Zealand

Asad A. Khan

17 July 2017, 08:10

I briefly met John Vickers in the late 1960s, when I was working with Anthony Buckley, first as an apprentice and then partner at our studios 36 New Bond Street and from 1964 at 81 Grosvenor Street. We were the official photographers to HM The Queen, The Duke, Queen Mum etc for over 15 years. I retired from Photography in 1971 and am now a man at leisure. Lots of good memories. Photographed a huge number of theatre personalities inc. Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh, sybill Thorndyke,
John Gielgud, Evelyn Laye, Flora Robson and 100s of others.

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