Depth of Field: Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Kirkland is one of photography’s legends, there’s no other way around it. He’s made a treasure trove full of images of the greatest personality that we saw in the latter part of the 20th century.  And by greats I mean the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Mick Jagger, Sting, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rod Steiger, Peter Faulk, Michael Caine, Dr. Stephan Hawking, Morgan Freeman, Orson Welles, Andy Warhol, Oliver Stone, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson, Sean Connery, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Peter O’Toole, John Lennon, Brigitte Bardot, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross and of course Marilyn Monroe to name only a few. It’s as if you are not famous without having a Kirkland portrait. I can imagine the Hollywood dinner parties, “Darling, you won the Academy award, how droll. But, have you had your portrait made by Kirkland”?

It’s not just the celebs either. If you are a famous photographer who do you go to get your portrait made? Well, Gordan Parks, Arnold Newman, Mary Ellen Marks, Pete Turner and Howard Bingham all went to him. The man’s freaking amazing and I am proud to have had this chance to interview him on Depth of Field.  You might imagine a man with this kind of pedigree might come off haughty or stuck up. But if it’s Douglas Kirkland you’d be wrong. My conversation with Kirkland was as personable as if he was my uncle and he was willing to give help and advice like a long time mentor. There’s no question you’ll enjoy this interview with one of photography’s greats.

Douglas Kirkland has two websites:

Douglas Kirkland Photography

DouglasKirkland.com

A lengthy collection of images from the shoot with Marilyn Monroe HERE.

 

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One thought on “Depth of Field: Douglas Kirkland

  1. I really appreciated this interview, Matt. You’ve likely heard me say this before, but small town where Kirkland grew up and got his start in photography… that’s the same small town where I grew up.

    I’ve heard a lot of photographers say they started young, and I wonder how true it is. In Kirkland’s case, I know it’s true. If I remember right, he had an undiagnosed learning disability and really struggled in school. Finding photography was like finding life, in a town where academics or sports were your only options as a kid.

    We’ve got some of his images from the local paper in the museum here, from the time he described going back home to work for the local paper for a while. I hadn’t heard this part of his story, so it was cool to hear him describe it.

    Knowing how far he’s come, he’s definitely an inspiration.
    Thanks.

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