Terence Donovan Photographs a Young Cindy Crawford

Terence Donovan’s career began in the early 1960s, following a post-war renaissance in fashion, art, photography and design. His bold and innovative methods signalled a change of direction in fashion photography and have had a lasting influence on the genre.

Along with his friends and fellow photographers Brian Duffy and David Bailey, Donovan made up the ominously named ‘Black Trinity’. The famed photographer Norman Parkinson, the leading fashion photographer of the older generation, gave the three younger photographers this title. Donovan, Duffy and Bailey’s youthful vigour lent an exciting new energy to photography, and they quickly became the most sought-after photographers of the day. They also ushered in the era of the celebrity photographer, quickly becoming as well known as the models and celebrities they photographed.

Donovan’s laid-back style of photography and paired down aesthetic saw the young photographer published in numerous leading publications including Man About Town, Vogue, Nova and The Sunday Times. His familiarity with his subjects allowed them to relax in front of the camera, and rather than the lofty and inaccessible countenance of models in fashion photography from the preceding decades, Donovan’s models are pictured smiling and at ease. This photograph, commissioned by British Vogue in 1988, is an excellent example of Donovan’s studio portraiture, in which he captures the elegant line of supermodel Cindy Crawford’s black dress juxtaposed against the simple backdrop.

This photograph was used in the August issue of the magazine for a feature titled ‘Cut to the Night.’ It was the first and only time that Donovan photographed Crawford, who was just 22 years old at the time. Donovan commented that the best models are those that occupy the blank space of the studio and are able to capture and hold the attention of the viewer. Crawford’s youthful energy is perfectly captured by Donovan’s lens, and the photograph bears the hallmarks of Donovan’s best photography.

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