Norman Parkinson: Always in Style
Worldwide tour starts at Centro Cultural de Cascais, Portugal
Known for his innovative and unique body of work, Norman Parkinson was instrumental in the transformations that took place in 20th-century fashion photography. He developed his own distinctive style throughout his 56-year career, embarking on photography in the 1930s and working continuously until his death in 1990.
His images capture the style of the twentieth century; from pre-war 1930s Britain and the austerity fashions of World War Two, the Parisian New Look of the 1950s and Swinging London in the 1960s, to the glamour and glitz of the 1970s and 80s.
Working ‘outside the box’ and with an unconventional style, Parkinson gained recognition in his early years as he revolutionised photography by moving female models from the static, serious and controlled environment of the photographic studio to real-life locations and exotic surroundings. This dynamic and spontaneous style garnered the attention of numerous fashion magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Town & Country, which earned him international recognition.
The exhibition Norman Parkinson: Always in Style offers a generous retrospective of Parkinson’s influential career, featuring 80 photographs that reflect the transformation of women’s fashion and helped shape the way it was communicated to the public over several decades. Open at the Centro Cultural de Cascais, Portugal, until January, the exhibition includes photographs from across the different phases of the artist’s career. The documentary Aka Norman Parkinson, co-produced by the BBC for the documentary series Arena in collaboration with the Norman Parkinson Archive, is also part of the exhibition.
Between the 1940s and 50s, Parkinson began a long phase of collaboration with Vogue, producing images that suggested a narrative, as we can observe in Young Velvets (Young Velvets, Young Prices, New York, Vogue, 1949), which features four models in hats set against a background of the skyscrapers of New York. Also within this period appear images of his muse and wife Wenda Parkinson, who became one of the leading models of the era.
The 1960s and 70s heralded major lifestyle changes, but Parkinson knew how to keep up by reinventing his style and keeping abreast of the emerging generation of young photographers and models. Through the 1960s, Parkinson continued to spot new faces and began working with the magazine The Queen. In the 1970s, his images helped elevate new models Jerry Hall and Iman to superstar status. During this twenty-year period, Parkinson produced iconic photographs of the Rolling Stones and the Beatles and of fashion designers such as Yves St Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, Jean Muir and Zandra Rhodes.
The 1980s were marked by the Queen of England awarding Parkinson a C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire) and by a series of new portraits commissioned for a major retrospective exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
The Exhibition Norman Parkinson: Always in Style is curated by Terence Pepper, who was Curator of Photographs for more than 40 years at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Alex Anthony and the Iconic Images are co-curators of this show.
The exhibition will be at Centro Cultural de Cascais from September 28 to January 20, 2019, and will then travel to several countries, with dates already being scheduled for Spain.
Terence Pepper joined the National Portrait Gallery in 1975, becoming a photography curator three years later. He later went on to become Head of Photographs for the gallery.
In 1981, he curated his first major exhibition – Norman Parkinson: 50 Years of Portraits and Fashion – also shown in an abridged version at Sotheby’s and the National Academy of Design in New York. Over his forty years at the National Portrait Gallery, Terence Pepper curated more than 150 photography exhibitions including Helmut Newton: Portraits and Alice Springs: Portraits (1988), followed by his research for the first monograph on Lewis Morley, Lewis Morley: Photographer of the Sixties (1989). He edited and co-wrote a book with John Kobal about MGM photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull, The Man Who Shot Garbo, which became the model for a number of successful exhibitions including Horst: Portraits (2001), Beaton: Portraits (2004) and, more recently, Man Ray: Portraits (2013-2014), presented at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and at the Pushkin Gallery in Moscow. His most recent exhibitions include Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, at the National Portrait Gallery in London (2015), James Abbe: Photographer of the Jazz Age, at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (2016) and Graham Keen: 1966 And All That, at the Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonard’s, UK (2016).
Terence Pepper was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) for services to photography and art in 2002. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society and received its ‘Outstanding Service to Photography’ award in 2014. Pepper is currently a photography consultant and Senior Special Advisor on Photographs for the Fashion and Textile Museum, London.
Alex Anthony is an archive consultant, curator and researcher working with photographic and fashion collections. Trained as a photographer and fine artist, she has worked with archives, galleries, contemporary artists and designers for the past ten years, collaborating closely with arts institutions, museums, academics, brands, publishers and producers to reveal the stories images and archives have to tell. Her particular areas of focus are the collections of British photographers Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) and Terence Donovan (1936-1996).
Iconic Images (www.iconicimages.net) own and represent the archives of celebrated world class photographers such as Terry O’Neill, Milton H. Greene and Norman Parkinson, selling signed limited edition prints, creating fine art exhibitions in 40 galleries around the world, providing licensing opportunities and producing high end merchandise such as books, backgammon boards, t-shirts and silk scarves.
For more information please contact:
TM: +351 218 874 283
Fundação Luís I – Centro Cultural de Cascais
Avenida Rei Humberto II de Itália, Nº16 2750-800 Cascais Portugal
September 28, 2018 to January 20, 2019