10th April 2013

Vogue: “London Calling: Happy Birthday, Norman Parkinson”

In her Tuesday column about all things stylish and British, Sarah Mower celebrates the dynamic, free-spirited work of the legendary fashion photographer.

It’s the centenary of the birthday of the great, attenuated British photographer Norman Parkinson (1913–1990), who stood six foot five inches in his stocking feet and who, with his astonishing eye for elegance, humanity, and humor captured the sort of photographs that could make electricity jolt up your arms as you turned the pages of Vogue.Actually, looking at the pictures now surfacing in the cornucopia of Parkinson-related events starting this week in anticipation of his centennial—his birthday was April 21—I’m finding myself overcome with emotion: It dawned on me only yesterday that it was the experience of seeing a Parkinson photograph as a child that changed my life. I opened a copy of my aunt’s British Vogue and saw a picture of a model sitting dreamily in a reed boat on a river in Ethiopia and fell headfirst in love with fashion forever. I might have been too young to read a caption, to realize that the dress was by Ossie Clark, that the model was Maudie James, or understand who, exactly, took the photo, but that was me—gone. It was 1969...

...For me, however, it was almost like being hit in the solar plexus to see, for the first time, the photos Parkinson shot in Bath, England, in 1948. I come from Bath, and these pictures are being shown starting next weekend in an exhibition curated by Roland Mouret for the Bath in Fashion festival there. The pictures were shot as part of a spring hat story for BritishVogue.

Continue reading the full article by Sarah Mower at www.vogue.com

Find out more about the new centenary publication of Norman Parkinson: Portraits in Fashion

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