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Douglas Kirkland, Photographer

In Print


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Douglas Kirkland, Photographer

with Douglas Kirkland

Video: In Print

(Music playing.) Douglas Kirkland: I was lucky. I got started at Look. I later went to Life and then did a lot of other work. I found these yesterday looking through some things, and this is a stack of Look magazine. These are some of my favorites. This is a special issue I did in Japan at the time the Olympics were going to be on, and we had this painted. I got a sign painter to paint this sign here, this calligraphy, which basically says Welcome or basically it's Welcome.

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Douglas Kirkland, Photographer
1h 15m Appropriate for all May 23, 2008

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Douglas Kirkland is one of the most accomplished and celebrated photographers of the last fifty years. This installment of the Creative Inspirations series offers insight into Douglas Kirkland's photography, from his early career at Look magazine during the golden age of photojournalism in the 60s and 70s to his transition from analog to digital photography in the 90s. His iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jack Nicholson, and Nicole Kidman, among others, are known all over the world. This series of videos includes a peek into Douglas's work, his studio, and some of his on-location photo shoots. Also view a presentation showcasing his body of work, a discussion with a group of high school photography students, an interview with Douglas and Lynda, and more.

Subjects:
Photography Creative Inspirations Documentaries
Author:
Douglas Kirkland

In Print

(Music playing.) Douglas Kirkland: I was lucky. I got started at Look. I later went to Life and then did a lot of other work. I found these yesterday looking through some things, and this is a stack of Look magazine. These are some of my favorites. This is a special issue I did in Japan at the time the Olympics were going to be on, and we had this painted. I got a sign painter to paint this sign here, this calligraphy, which basically says Welcome or basically it's Welcome.

All these pictures in here are lots of ads of course, because that's what kept them going. But here's pictures like this. I did all of these. That's a sort of thing I did. And not only, I love to -- I created a studio for that. Here's another one. This was fun. This is a Wright Brothers airplane. From the blueprints. They found the blueprints or plans and rebuilt it, and then putting Volkswagen engines in it and they flew these during the filming of a motion picture called Magnificent Men and Their Flying Machines.

In any case these are a lot of them. I mean, here's some fashion I did for Look. Here's a kind of a funny one right here. This was a little ahead of its time. This is Lucille Ball, and this is how we did it. We put her through the TV set and then this is for a TV issue of Look, and it's sort of saying, don't touch the dial. Interesting thing is magazines come and go and you hope to have something with greater permanence that stays on library shelves and shelves at people's homes.

And we've done -- I think the next one will be our fourteenth book. And that's very fulfilling because that's where you put everything that you do, and it has a greater lasting power. I think there is also more respect given to people who do books. I am going to show you a few of them, and just talk about books, three or four different ones right here that I've done. This is the biggest and this was the hardest. It took 12 years to get this book done. My first book.

I had all the material, but I couldn't speak the language of publishers. So we've got nice pictures. There I am with Faye Dunaway. Some of these pictures you've seen, maybe on projections and different places. What I'm just telling is I've worked a lot in astronomy. This is the Milky Way. I've done that, so we put it in the front of this book. This is my wonderful friend Elizabeth Taylor. By the way, Elizabeth is the one that really got me in photographing movie stars. I was with her and I went with a journalist to see if I could get pictures of her.

At the end of the interview which he did, she had said no pictures. I just went to her, looked her right in the eye and said, Elizabeth, I am new with this magazine-- that magazine was Look Magazine at the beginning of my career, and in the beginning of the 60s. And I said, just imagine what it would mean to me if you gave me an opportunity to photograph you. She did. I photographed her. That was the beginning of my career photographing stars. Here's Marilyn Monroe. Maurice Chevalier. I had lot of fun with him in Paris. We went all over Paris together.

I'm just flipping pages. Here's Catherine Deneuve and it goes on like that, lots of stories. So, that's that book. And so I got that book done and they always say once you get the first book done it's always easier to get the others done. And it has been, because today with the computer we really do a lot of the work. We do our own scans. This is my first computer book. This is back in the early 90s. I learned Photoshop and so I started to have a lot of fun with it. So I got my pictures and put them together and I don't agree necessarily with some of the effects we did, but we had a lot fun with the computer.

By the way, you know who's class I took, just months before this, was Lynda's, of lynda.com. She was the one who inspired me, frankly, and I'm telling you the truth. Different pictures, different effects, and I wrote a text predicting that this was going to change our world, the computer that is, and I think it has. Okay, we go onto Marilyn. I wrote this called An Evening With Marilyn and it's all about the different things that happened. This has been printed in about five or six different languages.

And again we have pictures of Marilyn and lots of things. You have another way of expressing yourself. This is our latest book, which I may have mentioned to you earlier, but it's Freeze Frame. It is 50 years of my career working around the movies. So this is the sort of thing I do. This is a more permanent statement than just a magazine piece or a newspaper.

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