Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) is one of the greatest 20th century photographers. He began his career in 1931 and developed his own distinctive style throughout almost 60 years. Known for his innovative and unique body of work, Parkinson was instrumental in the transformations in fashion photography.
His images capture the history of 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.
English fashion photographer Norman Parkinson (1913 – 1990) wears a leopard print scarf, circa 1970.
Norman Parkinson gained international 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.
His photographs created the age of the supermodel and made him the photographer of choice for fashion designers, artists and writers, musicians and actors, and British royalty. During six decades, he dazzled the world and inspired his peers with sparkling inventiveness as a portrait and fashion photographer.
Parkinson’s achievements were recognised by the Queen of England when, in 1981, he was awarded a C.B.E. (Commander of the British Empire). In that same year he was also honoured with a major retrospective exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London.