Fashion photography is probably the genre with some of the harshest critics. From the way a model poses for the camera, to how the photographer captures a frame, there’s always something that can be noticed and called out. It really is a cutthroat industry and being able to work for seven decades in such an environment is a feat itself. Of course, it helps if you’re Norman Parkinson.
An exhibit featuring 80 of Parkinson’s photographs is now ongoing at the Centro Cultural de Cascais in Portugal until January 20, 2019. The exhibition is titled Norman Parkinson: Always in Style and was curated by Terence Pepper along with Alex Anthony and the Iconic Images. After Portugal, the exhibition will travel to several countries as part of its worldwide tour (dates and venues are still to be announced). The title is only fitting because Parkinson was indeed always in style. It wasn’t the clothes he wore or the social events he attended, rather his images. His photographic style just kept changing and adapting to the times. In a way, he was a groundbreaking artist in the world of fashion photography. Parkinson seemed to always have something new to bring to the table.
Norman Parkinson is considered the most celebrated fashion photographer of the 20th century. He broke barriers and norms in fashion photography and continued to do so until his passing in 1990. Parkinson took models and the clothes they wore out of the studios and into real life — injecting them into the consciousness of millions. He was a pioneer in fashion photography and his images were not only stylish but artistic as well.
With his inventive approach to photography, Parkinson became a renowned name even in the world of music, art, show business, and even government. He was the go-to photographer of the British Royal Family and was named by the Queen of England as a Commander of the British Empire in 1980 — an honor awarded to individuals who have had innovative contributions in areas or art, science and development.