Norman Parkinson

Norman Parkinson

#Photographe #Incontournable
Born April 21st Ronald William Parkinson Smith

1927 - 31
Educated at Westminster School London

1931 - 33
Apprenticed Speights & Son of Bond Street

Sets up the Norman Parkinson studio with Norman Kibblewhite at One Dover Street, specialising in portraiture.

First one-man exhibition including portraits of Vivien Leigh and Noel Coward. Recruited by Harper's Bazaar to take editorial photographs

1935 - 40
Monthly commissions for Harper's Bazaar as well as portraits and reportage work for The Bystander.

Follows Edward Prince of Wales to depressed Welsh mining areas and takes a compassionate series of portraits of miners and their families.

First colour photographs for Harper's Bazaar. Travels to New York to cover the World's Fair for The Bystander. Does covert work for the Air Ministry taking photographs for leaflets dropped over occupied Europe.

Begins long association with British Vogue.

Meets, photographs and marries Wenda Rogerson a promising young actress. Wenda goes on with Parkinson to produce his most famous images.

Begins working for American Vogue. Photographs London Spring Collection on location near London Landmarks including the New Look at The National Gallery. Portrait series for British Vogue of artists, writers, intellectuals, theatre and musical personalities.

Photographs Paris Collection for British and American Vogue. First visit to Jamaica. 1951 travels to South Africa for a special edition of Vogue and photographs Wenda posed high above Victoria Falls and riding on the back of an ostrich.

March issue of Vogue features 12 page portfolio of all the leading British couturiers.

Tours round India taking photographs of models Anne Gunning and Barbara Mullen.

July Vogue features Italian trip with model Nena Von Schlebrugge, actress Uma Thurman's mother.

1960 - 64
Contract expires with Vogue and recruited as Associate Editor of Queen Magazine the most influential fashion and features magazine of the early 1960s.

1961 - 64
Continues work for queen with world - wide assignments featuring models Celia Hammond, Jean Shrimpton, Melaine Hampshire, Carmen, Pat Booth and Tania Mallett.

Moves from Twickenham to Tobago to build a dream house high on the cliffs above the sea.

Photographs the Beatles at a recording session at Abbey Road Studios. contract with Queen ends and returns to Conde Nast to work until the mid 70's on British and American Vogue as well as freelancing for life Magazine and others.

Photographs Prince Philip on royal visit to Tobago

Location work in Rome including sessions with Twiggy, Racquel Welch, Celia Hammond and Wenda Parkinson.

Elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society


First official photographs of Prince Charles at his investiture as Prince of Wales. Also Princess Anne on her horse in Windsor Great Park, and official portraits for her 19th birthday.

Photographs Apollonia Van Ravenstein on Bird Island in the Seychelles. Official portraits of Princess Anne for her 21st birthday.

Elizabeth Taylor at 40 wearing a wig to match her shitsu dog.

Trips to the Algarve and Barbados. Official engagement and wedding portraits of Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips.

Official photographs for Queen Mothers 75th birthday. 7000 mile journey across Soviet Union with Jerry Hall as model.

Quartet publishes his first book Sisters Under the Skin. Begins regular assignments for Hearst magazine Town & Country. Exhibition at the Photographers' Gallery, London

Official photographs fro Queen Mother's 80th Birthday including the ‘Blue Trinity' portrait of the Queen, The Queen Mother & Princess Margaret.

New Years honours list elevates Parks to Commander of the British Empire. Official photographs of Princess Margaret for her 50th Birthday. First major museum retrospective 50 Years of Fashion and Portraits held in the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Lifetime achievement in photography award for contribution to American magazines by American Society of Magazine Photographers. Elizabeth Taylor at 50 for Life Magazine.

First retrospective opens in New York at International Centre of Photography in New York.

Notable Diamonds, Art Institute of Chicago (travelled to Atlanta, Palm Beach, Detroit, Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, New York, San Francisco and Houston, 1985-86

Norman Parkinson dies while on assignment in Singapore

National Portrait Gallery, London (touring the UK)
Staley Wise, New York
Hamiltons Gallery, London

Norman Parkinson- Scene and Unseen, Special Exhibition, ArtLondon October
Sking - Group Exhibition organised by Birgit Filzmaier, Zurich, Switzerland Winter 2007

Norman Parkinson - Retrospective, organised by the Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, March - April
Norman Parkinson/Philip Treacy, Eleven Fine Arts, London July - September
Muses, Mothers, Models - Group exhibition organised by Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, Munich, Germany June - August 2007

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 glamorous 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, 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, London. This impression and timely book examines an unrivalled twentieth-century photographic portfolio. Parkinson was in incisive portraitist and 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 Park's inimitable wit and style, and his unique eye for glamour and beauty.