Norman Parkinson

United Kingdom 1913 - 1990


Norman Parkinson
Norman Parkinson
United Kingdom
December 27, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Norman Parkinson was British and one of the twentieth century’s best-known fashion photographers. He was active for over 50 years and was instrumental in taking portrait and fashion photography beyond the stiff formality of his predecessors and injecting an easy and casual elegance into his images.

Norman Parkinson’s impulsive and unstructured style changed forever the static, posed approach to fashion photography, while his enchanting, idiosyncratic persona charmed his sitters and projected an alluring and glamorous public image. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall, Parkinson was unable to remain unobtrusive behind the lens and instead created ‘Parks’, the moustachioed, ostentatiously elegant fashion photographer – as much a personality as those who sat for him, and frequently more flamboyant. His flawless professionalism, manners and well-rehearsed eccentricities reassured the uneasy sitter and disarmed the experienced.His photographs of celebrities, artists, and the British Royal Family, as well as leading figures from the worlds of film, theatre, politics and music are known throughout the world and have become icons of twentieth century style.

In a career that spanned seven decades, Norman Parkinson dazzled the world with his sparkling inventiveness as a portrait and fashion photographer. His work provides a comprehensive and unique record of the development of fashion design, photography and modelling from the 1940’s to 1990. By charting the changing face of fashion through the twentieth century, Norman Parkinson’s work also serves as a hugely significant historical record and a reflection of the societal changes that shaped our modern culture.

Parkinson worked for a wide range of publications, once declaring “a photographer without a magazine behind him is like a farmer without fields”. His long association with Vogue (working with Audrey Withers, Diana Vreeland and Grace Coddington amongst many others), and his numerous assignments for Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country and other international magazines, brought him worldwide recognition. Parkinson’s work is still considered hugely innovative and his influence remains evident in the work of many contemporary photographers.

Parks reinvented himself for each decade of his career, from his ground- breaking, spontaneous images of the 1930s, through the war years and the Swinging Sixties to the exotic locations of the 1970s and 1980s. By the end of his life he had become a household name, the recipient of a CBE, a photographer to the royal family, an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, and the subject of a large scale retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

Norman Parkinson died whilst on location in Singapore shooting for Town and Country in 1990.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2015Celebrating 12 Years of Gallery VassieGallery Vassie, AmsterdamGroup
2015THEA PORTER: 70S BOHEMIAN CHICFashion and Textile Museum, LondonGroup
2015Knitwear: Chanel to WestwoodFashion and Textile Museum, LondonGroup
2015AUDREY HEPBURN: PORTRAITS OF AN ICONNational Portrait Gallery, LondonGroup
2015LOLA GARRIDO COLLECTIONThe Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, MoscowGroup
2014LoveCamera Work, BerlinGroup
2014Real And SurrealStaley-Wise Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2014International Art Fair: Paris PhotoEric Franck Fine Art, Grand PalaisGroup
2014Frieze MastersRegent's Park, LondonGroup
2014DIOR: THE LEGENDARY IMAGESMusee Christian Dior, GranvilleGroup
2014PARIS PHOTO LAParamount Picture Studios, Los AngelesGroup
2014GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!The Little Black Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2013A Centenary CelebrationChris Beetles Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2013True ColoursAtlas Gallery, LondonGroup
2013Charlotte Rampling. Album segretiAuditorium Arte - Parco della Musica, RomeGroup
2013Fashion CliksPhotographica Fine Art, Lugano, CHGroup
2012Pink is the Navy Blue of IndiaTasveer, BangaloreSolo
2012Charlotte Rampling - Albums secretsMaison de la Photographie, LilleGroup
2012Norman Parkinson: The Godfather of British Fashion Photography, The Glamour YearsGallery Vassie, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2012Zeitlos schönCO Berlin, BerlinGroup
2012In the seventh year itchBernheimer, Munchen, GermanyGroup
2011Pink Is The Navy Blue Of IndiaTasveer- Kolkata, CalcuttaSolo
2011Fashion - The Story Of A LifetimeNoorderlicht Fotogalerie, GroningenGroup
2011Norman Parkinson 1913-1990Chris Beetles Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2011Parkinson Photographs The Age of InnocenceDimbola Lodge - Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, UKSolo
2011The Photographers 2011Chris Beetle Fine Photographs, LondonGroup
2010Norman Parkinson: Defining The LookChris Beetles Art Gallery, LondonSolo
2010Masterpieces: Norman Parkinson, Terence Donovan, and Patrick LichfieldThe Little Black Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2010Threads: Six Masters of Fashion PhotographyDiemar Noble, London, EnglandGroup
2010Fashion - the story of a lifetimeThe Empty Quarter Gallery, DubaiGroup
2010A Positive ViewSomerset House, LondonGroup
2010Every Picture tells a storyBernheimer, Munchen, GermanyGroup
2009A very British glamourGalleria Carla Sozzani, MilanSolo
2009A Very British GlamourEric Franck Fine Art, LondonSolo
2009Something for EveryoneHamiltons Gallery, LondonGroup
2009Twiggy: A Life In PhotographsNPG - National Portrait Gallery, LondonGroup
2009Norman Parkinson: British Fashion 1950-1960Birgit Filzmaier, Zurich, Switzerland Solo
2009Photographs 1950 -1964Chapel Row Gallery, UKSolo
2009BRITISH PHOTOGRAPHY 2009Chris Beetles Gallery, London, EnglandGroup
2009A Splendid Time: The Beatles and the sixtiesSnap Galleries, LondonGroup
2009Photo20esimoMuseo d'Arte, Lugano, CHGroup
2008Mujeres en pluralFundacion Canal, MadridGroup
2008Fashion in the Mirror: Self-Reflection in Fashion PhotographyThe Photographers' Gallery,LondonGroup
2008Street & Studio: an urban history of photographyTate Modern, LondonGroup
2008Something for EveryoneHamiltons Gallery, LondonGroup
2008FashionCameraWork, Berlin, GermanySolo
2008Norman Parkinson: Fashion Inside and OutThe Parking Lot, London, EnglandSolo
2008Norman Parkinson: Contacts, Cigarettes, ColourPaul Smith Gallery, London, EnglandSolo
2007Philip Treacy and Norman ParkinsonEleven Fine Art, LondonGroup
2007Norman Parkinson: RetrospectiveMoscow House of Photography, Moscow, RussiaSolo
2007Muses, Mothers, ModelsBernheimer Fine Old Masters, Munich, GermanyGroup
2007How We Are: Photographing BritainTate Britain, London, EnglandGroup
2007SkingBirgit Fitzmaier, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2006Norman Parkinson - Portraits in FashionLady Lever Art Gallery, Port SunlightSolo
2006Der Pirelli-Kalender; Provokation und MythosBerlinische Galerie, BerlinGroup
2006Norman Parkinson: Scene and UnseenArtLondon, London, EnglandSolo
2005Norman ParkinsonThe Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County DurhamSolo
2005Invito al CollezionismoGalleria Carla Sozzani, MilanGroup
2005From the Source, Fashion PhotographsCorkin Gallery, Toronto, ONGroup
2005Retrospective 1935-1990Staley + Wise Gallery, New YorkSolo
2005Portraits in FashionNational Portrait Gallery, LondonSolo
2004Norman ParkinsonHamiltons Gallery, LondonSolo
2001Look at Me - Fashion and Photography in Britain 1960 to the presentMilton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, BuckinghamshireGroup
1998Look at me - Mode en fotografie in Groot-Brittannië 1960-1998Kunsthal Rotterdam, RotterdamGroup
1985Notable DiamondsArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, USAGroup
1983Retrospective at International Center of PhotographyNew York, USASolo
1981Photographs by Norman Parkinson: Fifty Years of Portraits and FashionNational Portrait Gallery, London, EnglandSolo