Douglas Kirkland

Photographer, Canada (b.1934)


Douglas Kirkland has been at the cutting edge of fashion, photojournalism and portraiture, working for the world's most reputable magazines, for more than 50 years. As a young photographer in 1961 he was assigned to shoot Marilyn Monroe and during several hours in a closed studio one night, captured a stunning portfolio of alluring and intimate images that survive to this day as a testament to her beauty and vulnerability. The images were taken for the cover of Look Magazine’s 25th anniversary, and the legendary encounter propelled Kirkland into becoming one of Hollywood’s favourite photographers.


His work ranges from exquisite nudes to powerful portraits of the notable and the notorious, from photo-journalism to the catwalk. Kirkland has served as the sole photographer on numerous film sets, from The Sound of Music to Titanic. His extensive archive of candid celebrity portraits includes the like of Elizabeth Taylor, Charlie Chaplin, Jack Nicholson, John Travolta, Michael Jackson, and Andy Warhol. Kirkland intensifies the aura, mystery, and in some cases, humanity, surrounding celebrity figures – adding a touch of realism to the portraits of otherwise untouchable celebrities.


"The word 'celebrity' is a rather peculiar word," he says. "I work with celebrities but I'm not in awe of them. Individuals are less important to me than the possibilities of creativity. It's making images that excite me. Honestly, the names have come and gone, but my good fortune is that I've remained."