Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion
Wenda Parkinson (née Rogerson)
by Norman Parkinson
Past display archive
1 September 2004 - 16 January 2005
In a career that spanned seven decades, Norman Parkinson (1913-90) dazzled the world with his sparkling inventiveness as a fashion photographer. His long association with Vogue, and his numerous assignments for Harper's Bazaar, Town & Country and other international magazines, brought him worldwide recognition. His innovative style transformed the static, posed approach to fashion photography, while his enchanting, idiosyncratic persona charmed his sitters and projected an alluring and glamorous public image.
Many of the greatest icons of the twentieth century, as well as some of the world's most beautiful women, are revealed through Parkinson's inimitable wit and style, and through his unique eye for glamour and beauty. This Bookshop Gallery display brings together twenty stunning photographs that pay tribute to Parkinson's skill as a fashion and portrait photographer. Subjects featured include Montgomery Clift, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn and Wenda Rogerson.
Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Parkinson was unable to remain unobtrusive behind the lens and instead created 'Parks', the moustachioed, ostentatiously elegant fashion photographer - as much a personality as those who sat for him. His flawless professionalism, and well-rehearsed eccentricities reassured the uneasy sitter and disarmed the experienced. 'Parks' reinvented himself for each decade of his career, from his ground-breaking spontaneous images of the 1930s, through the war years and the 'Swinging Sixties' to the exotic locations of the 1970s and 1980s.
By the end of his life (he died on location in 1990) he had become a household name, the recipient of a CBE, a photographer to the Royal Family, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and the subject of a large-scale retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery (1981).
The display celebrates the publication of a fully illustrated book by Robin Muir, with a foreword by Iman. Price £30.
Robin Muir is a curator and writer on photography, and a former picture editor of British Vogue and the Sunday Telegraph Magazine.
Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion, by Robin Muir, is available from our online shop.
Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.
William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.
Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.