Terence Donovan : an appreciation


‘Terence Donovan photographing Twiggy’ :  bronze sculpture by Neal French

Best known for his fashion photography, there was much more to Terence Donovan than that. In the 1960s Donovan, along with David Bailey and Brian Duffy, brought a new, gritty style to fashion shoots. Instead of posing models in genteel surroundings, Donovan often used the street as his studio, with factories and bomb sites as a backdrop.

Then in the 1970s, working from a studio in Bourdon Street, Mayfair, he began to focus on advertising campaigns and TV commercials, directing more than 3,000 commercials in total. A wall plaque now marks the site of his studio. And the sculpture featured at the start of this article can be found nearby, in Bourdon Place.

Clearly Terence Donovan was a man of many talents and great energy. He developed his own film and did his own black and white printing. He was a judo black belt and a painter.

More than 50 years later, it’s hard to imagine the shock waves created by Donovan, Bailey and Duffy. Norman Parkinson, an elder statesman of fashion photography, referred to them as ‘The Black Trinity’.

So was Terence Donovan just a flash in the pan, famous because he tore up the rule book? Definitely not. Although he died in 1996, his work is still being published. The book ‘Terence Donovan Portraits’ came out in 2016, showing the breadth of his work and his lighting skills. To view his work online, take a look at www.terencedonovan.co.uk. Then let me know what you think.




2 Responses to “Terence Donovan : an appreciation”
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