Douglas KIRKLAND was born in 1934 in Toronto. Child, he has been amazed by Photography and his kith and kin became his very first models. Douglas KIRKLAND still does not know that during the next years, the most prominent Hollywood celebrities will pose in front of his camera.

In the early stages of his career Douglas KIRKLAND worked in a small photo studio, in Richmond (Virginia). Thanks to his meetings, he discovered the photographs of Irving PENN. That was a revelation. Douglas KIRKLAND was fond of it, he sent several letters to the famous photographer and succeeded in becoming Irving PENN’s assistant. He is a quick learner but the meager salary was not enough and Irving PENN refused to increase his wage. We were in 1957, Douglas gave himself one year to carve out a place as photographer by his own mean. The road had been a bit longer. He constructed his portfolio step by step through collaborations with small publications. Then, Douglas KIRKLAND started to work with LOOK magazine. The same year, he learnt French in the contact of Coco CHANEL and, just before that, in June 1961, he was appointed to portrait Elizabeth TAYLOR.

Elizabeth TAYLOR had accepted an interview for LOOK, not a photo shoot. The young Douglas KIRKLAND explained her, what would the opportunity to have a photo session with her represent for him. Elizabeth TAYLOR gave her agreement and, thanks to that, launched Douglas KIRKLAND’s career. In this same 1961 year, Douglas KIRKLAND photographed Marilyn MONROE. The session happened around a king size bed, a bottle of champagne and a Frank SINATRA’s record. The beautiful pictures of Marilyn MONROE, with splendid pastel tones, let have a glimpse of the good vibes between both of them. “She was not like the Marilyn I expected, she was easy and light, and almost playful, and very disarming for me” explained Douglas KIRKLAND in an interview for CBS.  

Douglas KIRKLAND became the photographer of the celebrities

Charlie CHAPLIN, Audrey HEPBURN, Jack NICHOLSON, John TRAVOLTA, Michael JACKSON, Brigitte BARDOT, Andy WARHOL or Marilyn MONROE are among the numerous personalities he portrayed. While photographing actors and film directors in the intimacy of the studio, Douglas KIRKLAND has also done film set photography including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Sophie's Choice, Out of Africa, Butch Cassidy and the Kid, Romancing the Stone, Titanic, The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge. Thus, Douglas KIRKLAND’s photo archives reflect the different sides of the world of cinema.

Of course portraits have a special place in Douglas KIRKLAND’s photos, but he also worked on various subjects such as Astronomy in Chile, The Trans Siberian Railroad or fashion in Bali. Douglas KIRKLAND has taught at the Smithsonian Institution, the AFI Conservatory in Hawaii and Los Angeles, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and the Kodak centers Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. His career has been worth him a wide recognition. He kept on photographing the world of film and to conduct his own projects, like a work on his archives to publish a new book, on his black and white photos, called “When We Were Young”.

6 questions to Douglas KIRKLAND - Exhibition at Galerie GADCOLLECTION : Icons (24 May - 3 July 2018): 

Photographer Douglas KIRKLAND Interviewed About Photographing Marilyn Monroe in 1961:


Douglas KIRKLAND, Galerie GADCOLLECTION, Paris, May 2018 - July 2018 IconsPress Release

Douglas KIRKLAND, Lumiere Brothers Center for Photography, Moscow, January 2018

Douglas KIRKLAND - Fermo Immagine, Maxxi, Italy, October 2017 - November 2017

Rétrospective, Triennale Museum, Milan, Italy, September 2008

Museums and collections: 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA

National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, Australia

National Portrait Gallery, Londres, England

Eastman House, Rochester, New York, USA

Houston Center for Photography, Houston, Texas, USA

Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, California, USA

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences collection, Beverly Hills, California, USA


2003 : Lucie Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Photography, IPA photography

2006 : The Golden Eye of Russia

2006 : Life Time Achievement Award, CAPIC (Toronto)

2007 : Honorary Master of Arts Degree, Brooks Institute

Books selection: 

Douglas Kirkland, Freeze Frame: Second Cut, 2017

Douglas Kirkland, A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph, 2013

Douglas Kirkland, Michael Jackson: The Making of “Thriller”, 2010

Douglas Kirkland, Coco Chanel: three weeks 1962, 2008

Douglas Kirkland, An Evening with Marilyn, 2005

Douglas Kirkland & Douglas S. Kirkland, The Part, 2000

Douglas Kirkland & Paul Verhoeven, Showgirls: Portrait of a Film, 1995


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