Terence Donovan: Speed Of Light

The Photographers’ Gallery, London are to present a major UK retrospective of the acclaimed British photographer, Terence Donovan (1936-1996).

Terence Donovan was one of the foremost photographers of his generation, with a career spanning almost 40 years. He came to prominence in London as part of a post-war renaissance in the creative industries, representing a new force in fashion and, later, advertising and portrait photography. He operated at the heart of London’s swinging sixties, both as participant in and observer of the world he so brilliantly and incisively captured with his camera.

Presented over two floors, Speed of Light reflects the breadth of Donovan’s career and the originality of his work across different genres and mediums. Incorporating a compelling mix of vintage material and previously unpublished works, the exhibition will also include the groundbreaking film and video he produced for musicians such as Robert Palmer and Malcolm McLaren, along with early magazine spreads from Man About Town (later Town), contact sheets, Donovan’s cameras, studio notes and previously unseen sketches and diaries.

Part of a working class influx into the previously rarefied worlds of fashion, media and the arts, Donovan’s iconoclastic and sometimes irreverent photography established a new visual language rooted in the world he knew best – the streets of London’s East End. Taking his models to bomb-ravaged wastegrounds or balancing them off industrial building sites, his gritty and noir-ish style resembled reportage rather than fashion photography. Donovan both documented and helped create the much-mythologised culture of 1960s London, and was amongst the first wave of celebrity photographers, socialising with, as well as photographing, the actors, musicians, designers and models who came to represent the decade.

Terence Donovan: Speed of Light in association with Ricoh is on display at The Photographers’ Gallery from 15 July - 25 September
Terence Donovan Portraits is published by Damiani at £35.00