Parkinson Photographs the Age of Innocence

June 23, 2011 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Events, Photographers | 1 Comment |
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A new exhibition of Norman Parkinson’s images of childhood, ‘Age of Innocence’, is currently on show at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight. Running until 3rd July, the exhibition offers a fresh insight into his development as an artist and his eclectic choice of subjects. In her introduction to the catalogue, Fay Weldon writes: “Parkinson, like his confrères Bailey, Duffy and Donovan, is mostly known for his spectacular fashion photography, but as with these other great photographers, ‘the fashion shoot’ was only a part of their work. That was what earned them money: not necessarily what most satisfied the keen aesthetic eye of the photographer. In this particular collection of images, all relating one way or another to childhood, Parkinson combines the techniques of photojournalism – catch the moment as it flies – à la Cartier Bresson and Lartigue, with an Irving Penn-like sense of formality.”

Press Release

‘PARKINSON PHOTOGRAPHS THE AGE OF INNOCENCE’

A new exhibition including rare and previously unseen photographs of children by British photographer Norman Parkinson (1913 – 1990), at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight, 8 April – 3 July 2011.
Curated by the Angela Williams Archive.

Legendary British photographer Norman Parkinson operated in a world of high fashion, shooting for Vogue and Queen magazines in the 1950s and 1960s, but he was also drawn to the carefree innocence of children, capturing a lost era when childhood was an optimistic and untarnished experience.

Curated by Norman Parkinson archivist and his former assistant, Angela Williams, with catalogue text written by the author Fay Weldon, a new exhibition of Parkinson’s images of childhood, ‘Age of Innocence’, offers a fresh insight into his development as an artist and his eclectic choice of subjects. The former home of the Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron, Dimbola Lodge on the Isle of Wight, is the setting for this first themed exhibition created by the Angela Williams Archive.

In her introduction to the catalogue, Fay Weldon writes: “Parkinson, like his confrères Bailey, Duffy and Donovan, is mostly known for his spectacular fashion photography, but as with these other great photographers, ‘the fashion shoot’ was only a part of their work. That was what earned them money: not necessarily what most satisfied the keen aesthetic eye of the photographer. In this particular collection of images, all relating one way or another to childhood, Parkinson combines the techniques of photojournalism – catch the moment as it flies – à la Cartier Bresson and Lartigue, with an Irving Penn-like sense of formality. The child is casual, the picture instant, yet the form severely composed. And look for the gremlin – Parkinson complained there was always one in his camera – which sometimes subverts his earnest intentions, and simply entertains.”

Angela Williams, says: “Parkinson was enchanted by the energy and spirit of children before they were burdened by maturity, and in Louis Baring’s book, A Very British Glamour, he described hiding by a twisted mulberry tree at the end of his Grandfather’s garden as a 12 year-old boy, when he would peer through the criss-cross wooden fence into the garden next door, captivated by the vision of frolicking girls: ‘girls with loose dresses and a minimum of underclothes running fawnlike everywhere’ or ‘lying around the lawn with languorous ease’. It was these memories, which, alongside his passionate enthusiasm for Julia Cameron’s images of children portraying a romantic innocence, that inspired his own work in this genre. Parkinson recalled: ‘When I picked up my camera years later, I photographed the memories of those well observed weekend girls I had seen through the fence’.”

The exhibition will feature a number of rare Parkinson silver prints taken between 1950 and 1965, some of which have never been exhibited before. All are original, unique and highly collectable prints. Many of the images first appeared in fashion spreads or advertising in magazines of the day, including Vogue. The exhibition will also feature vintage prints from the 1979 book, Sisters under the Skin, including previously unseen images of Stella McCartney as a child.



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#1 Tom

Years of childhood, the greatest time for us all, thanks for the info ...

11:42 am - Thursday, June 23, 2011