Elton John, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie – photographer Terry O’Neill has photographed some of the world’s most famous faces over his 60-year career. Now, in celebration of his 81st birthday, O’Neill is giving us the opportunity to see 20 of his iconic images in a new exhibition, opening this March at the Chelsea Box Galleries. Among the collection is a brand-new photograph of Frank Sinatra from O’Neill’s vast archive, who he cited as the perfect sitter: “He was truly a great man. He was a one-off; a great musician. He allowed me to go wherever I wanted – backstage, on-stage, on-set to get the perfect shot.”
O’Neill began his career as a photographer on Britain’s original tabloid, the Daily Sketch, before going on to freelance for the likes of Vogue and Paris Match. Despite the name of his exhibition, O’Neill was never starstruck by his figures – in fact he was a part of the inner circle which he photographed. Being friends with actors like Michael Caine and Richard Burton, and married to Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway, gave O’Neill the chance to capture his subjects in a more relaxed manner. Some of his most famous portraits include David Bowie lying ‘zonked out’ on the floor, a sultry Brigitte Bardot smoking a cigar, and an innocent Audrey Hepburn with a dove just landed on her shoulder. He also photographed Elvis Presley, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and every James Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig – quite a portfolio.
During the 60’s and 70’s O’Neill became one of the world’s most published photographers, and in 2011 he was honoured with The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary medal ‘in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography’.
7 – 31 March 2019
Chelsea Box Galleries, 402 King’s Rd, 402 King’s Rd, London SW10 0LJ
Admission is free, visit boxgalleries.com for more information