Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion

'Capturing life - energy, mood and spirit - is a talent reserved for the world's most gifted photographers. No matter how beautiful or photogenic a person may be, their photograph won't shine unless the maestro behind the lens communicates with them, teases them, emotes with them. Photography is a collaborative process - like a dance - and Norman Parkinson was like Fred Astaire.' From the foreword by Iman In a career that spanned seven decades, Norman Parkinson 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 impulsive and unstructured style changed forever the static, posed approach to fashion photography, while his enchanting, idiosyncratic persona charmed his sitters and projected an alluring and glamourous public image. 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, and frequently more flamboyant. His flawless professionalism, manners and well-rehearsed eccentricities reassured the uneasy sitter and disarmed the experienced. Parks reinvented himself for each decade of his career, from his groundbreaking 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 and photographer to the royal family. He photographed many of the greatest icons of the twentieth century as well as some of the world's most beautiful women - included here are his incomparable fashion portraits of Iman, Jerry Hall,Audrey Hepburn and Ava Gardner, among many others. Shining through his work is Parks' inimitable wit and style, and his unique eye for glamour and beauty.

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Art and Photography


Hardie Grant Books


01 October 2004


Robin Muir