3.7 – 27.7 2019
Terence Donovan: The 1960s
03.07 – 27.07.2019
An exhibition of over 30 vintage photographs from Terence Donovan’s early career on display at Huxley-Parlour Gallery. Donovan (1936-1996) rose to prominence in the 1960s as part of London’s post-war renaissance in art, fashion, graphic design and photography. Terence Donovan: The 1960s showcases his best-known photographs from this period alongside some lesser-seen images to illustrate the scope of his work during this formative period.
The exhibition includes portraits of Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Monica Vitti, Sophia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Celia Hammond and Dave Brubeck amongst other cultural figures of the era, shot for a range of both advertising and editorial commissions. Also included are eight original and unique contact prints – small photographs made by laying the negative directly onto the surface of the light sensitive paper. Donovan meticulously reviewed his contact sheets, indicating his selected frames by piercing them with a pen or marking them with a pen or chinagraph pencil. He discarded the contact prints of the frames he did not want used, keeping only those that he felt good enough to print or publish.These prints provide an important insight into Donovan’s working methods and his creative process.
Charting Donovan’s early career from 1959, when he opened up his first London studio, to the heights of his success throughout the 1960s, the works in the exhibition show how he helped to redefine photography and shape the aesthetic of London’s ‘Swinging Sixties’. The honesty and energy of Donovan’s photographs quickly helped to establish his own visual language rooted in the world he knew best – the streets of London’s East End, where he had grown up. Often situating his models in bomb-ravaged ruins or in industrial building sites, his gritty and noirish style looked to reportage, rather than fashion photography, for its inspiration. He worked for some of the most progressive magazines of the time including Queen, Town and London Life and his images quickly became emblematic of the era and established Donovan as a new force in British photography.
B. United Kingdom1936-1966
Terence Donovan began his career in the early 1960s working with leading advertising agencies and fashion and lifestyle magazines of the time, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle. Part of a working class influx into the previously rarefied worlds of fashion, media and the arts, Donovan’s iconoclastic and sometimes irreverent photography established a new visual language rooted in London’s urban environment. He worked for some of the most progressive magazines of the time including Queen, Town and London Life and his images became emblematic of the era. Donovan both documented and helped create the much-mythologised culture of 1960s London. In his later career Donovan concentrated more specifically on advertising and moving image work, while continuing to chronicle contemporary culture.
A retrospective exhibition of his London photographs was held at the Museum of London in 1999 and a large-format anthology of his photographs, Terence Donovan, was published in 2000. In 2012 Terence Donovan Fashion was published, edited by Diana Donovan and David Hillman. His first major retrospective, Terence Donovan: Speed of Light, opened at the Photographer’s Gallery, London in July 2016. Donovan died in 1996.