Douglas Kirkland captures Icons and Idols in photography exhibitions


Marilyn Monroe by Douglas Kirkland.
Marilyn Monroe by Douglas Kirkland.

YOU might not be familiar with Douglas Kirkland by name but you probably are with his photography; in particular, his image of Marilyn Monroe.

“In 1961 Look Magazine was turning 25 years old and they wanted Marilyn to star in that issue,” There Is gallery owner Melissa Lekias said.

“A 27-year-old Douglas was appointed to shoot her and in the end Marilyn was the one to take charge.

“She said ‘I know what we need. We need a bed, and we need white silk sheets – they must be silk –Frank Sinatra records and Dom Perignon champagne’.

“From this point these images become iconic for Douglas.”

Lekias has worked with Kirkland on photo shoots in Perth and New York, developing a friendship with the LA-based photographer and his wife Francoise, and decided it was time to exhibit his works in Australia in Icons and Idols.

The exhibition features 22 limited edition prints of Kirkland’s work, who went on to photograph everyone from Mick Jagger, John Lennon and Sophia Loren to Audrey Hepburn, Michael Jackson, Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio during his 60-year career.

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“I really admire the way he captures the essence of the person and the subtle nuances of their character that his images convey, which really bring them to life,” Lekias said.

“As a photographer he has a unique capacity to engage with his subjects, which I feel is reflected in the final image.”

Lekias said her favourite Kirkland photograph was of Brigitte Bardot asleep in a car because it was shot long ago but looked like it could have been taken today.

“The feel of the shot has such a contemporary vibe and I think that she still has a look in this shot that people would aspire to,” she said.

“She has the quality of a style icon which I love.”

Lekias said it had been difficult to narrow Kirkland’s vast body of work down to 22 images.

In the end it came down to looking at popular culture and pulling together some icons and idols that had stood the test of time, affecting popular culture across music, art and fashion.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Icons and Idols exhibition

Where: There Is, 49 Stuart Street, Perth

When: October 17 to November 13