The renowned British photographer Terry O’Neill is launching a new exhibition of his iconic images coupled with new, previously unseen works. As one of the world’s most acclaimed and collected photographers he is best known for his intimate images of the most legendary and powerful faces of the past sixty years, spanning politics, music, film, theatre and royalty. O’Neill’s works depict unparalleled intimacy and honesty, whilst also capturing the mood of the moment. They creatively interpret and express the personality of each of his sitters whilst offering the onlooker an insight into the subject’s personality and lifestyle.
Since first picking up a camera around 1958, O’Neill has captured the frontline of fame, in particular the emerging rock stars of the Sixties. These images have now reached cult status, including those of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones whilst they were still struggling young bands. He has chronicled over two decades of Frank Sinatra’s life in front of the lens and produced unique and intimate photographs of icons such as Muhammad Ali, Brigitte Bardot, Sean Connery, Raquel Welch, Audrey Hepburn and many more.
More recently, O’Neill has become the modern day celebrity’s photographer of choice for personalities including Simon Cowell, Gordon Ramsey, Helena Bonham Carter and Kate Moss.
A carefully chosen selection of classic and new and unseen works go on display at Alon Zakaim Fine Art in London’s Mayfair from 1st May until 8th June 2012.
Terry O’Neill says: “My works portray the featured stars as they really are, and not how we often see them, distorted by their management and the paparazzi. The photographs really do chronicle the feel of the decades they were shot in and offer viewers a celebrity-led trip through my sixty year career behind the camera.” Previously unexhibited works of Brigitte Bardot, Ursula Andress, Sean Connery and Kate Moss will appear alongside his seminal shots of Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali and a wide array of other celebrities taken from O’Neill’s expansive oeuvre.
From the start of the 1960s and continuing until the present day the name of Terry O’Neill has become inextricably connected with some of the most interesting takes on photographic portraits of celebrities. From the Beatles and Rolling Stones in the 1960s to the Royal Family and the Prime Minister’s family in more recent times Terry O’Neill has proved adept at recording the significant subjects of the day in a visually stimulating and sometimes unexpected way and thus illuminated history of our age.
Terry O’Neill was born on 30 July 1938 in the East End of London. His career as a photographer evolved by chance out of his first ambition to become a jazz drummer. Leaving school at fourteen and then doing his National Service his ambition was to go to America to study with the great drummers there. He thought that the best way to travel frequently and inexpensively to the USA would be to get a job as an air steward for BOAC. The airline at that time had no vacancies for stewards but suggested he took a vacancy in their technical photographic unit, which he combined with time at an art school and he then became interested in photojournalism.
At first, O’Neill worked as freelance at London Airport, later was offered a stunt as a reportage photographer at Heathrow. This was followed by three years in Fleet Street, with O’Neill at 21, the youngest photographer in Fleet Street taking pop pictures for the up-tempo Daily Sketch.
One thing lead to another and O’Neill quickly became a significant image-maker and one of the group of talented young photographers who helped create the photographic icons of the 1960s and create part of the buzz that became Swinging London. The peer group that emerged in this decade included David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy from the East End and Patrick Lichfield and Lewis Morley from other backgrounds.
Terry O’Neill’s film connections and fifteen-year relationship, including a three-year marriage (1983-6) to the Hollywood star, Faye Dunaway, helped contribute to his profile and success internationally, particularly in America, from the 1970s onwards. His important commissions from American based international magazines such as Life and later the film magazine Premiere have all added to his reputation, whilst in London, his work is most frequently seen in the glossy pages of the Sunday Times Magazine.
The Exhibition Runs From 1 May – 8 June Alon Zakaim Fine Art