ZEBRA ONE GALLERY RETROSPECTIVE UNVEILS PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN IMAGES OF ICONS
To celebrate the life of late, great photographer Terry O’Neill, Zebra One Gallery will launch retrospective exhibition, Terry O’Neill: The Vintage Collection, featuring rare or previously unseen images of icons including David Bowie, Elton John, Raquel Welch, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Liza Minelli.
In the last five years, his archive of two million negatives has been revisited, unearthing rare, vintage prints of some of history’s most pivotal celebrity moments. Thirteen particularly exciting, signed prints will be unveiled for this exhibition, which runs at the Hampstead gallery from 15 – 29 September. Many of these have never been seen before and with the death of the photographer last year, his work can no longer be reproduced in terms of chemistry, paper quality or authenticity.
The show includes a unique contact sheet (the only known print in existence) of a now-legendary 1974 David Bowie shoot, signed by both Bowie and O’Neill, who described the singer as his “creative muse” and captured his shapeshifting evolution from Ziggy Stardust to the Thin White Duke and beyond.
The Los Angeles shoot was to promote Bowie’s Diamond Dogs Tour and shows the star smoking, in a yellow suit. On the recto of the contact sheet are the initials ‘DB’ in Chinagraph, indicating Bowie’s favourite image from the shoot, which was later gifted to him by O’Neill.
It also features a 1975 shot of Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie in Los Angeles. Taylor was desperate to meet Bowie, so she asked O’Neill – who knew everybody – to bring him to lunch, because she wanted him to star in her next film. He was four hours late for the lunch, leaving the Hollywood superstar fuming. But, thanks to her love for O’Neill, Taylor still agreed to shoot some sultry and spectacular shots with the rockstar, who won her over. He did not get the part in the movie and the session remained buried and unseen, until it was rediscovered by Terry forty years later.
Another image shows an out-take from press shots for 1971 comedy western Pocket Money, shot in Arizona and starring Paul Newman and Lee Marvin. O’Neill revealed that Marvin was mostly indisposed due to alcohol during the making of the film and refused to come out of his trailer. But he made an exception for O’Neill. As Marvin was a much larger man than Newman, O’Neill persuaded him to bend slightly at the knee and encouraged Newman to stretch up straight so that they both appeared the same size, in the shoot.
Other stars included in the exhibition include: The Beatles with Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Elton John and Davey Johnstone, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Liza Minelli, Henry Cooper and Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Robert Redford and Richard Helms, Sammy Davis Jr. and Roger Daltrey.
Over six decades, O’Neill earned a place atop the pantheon of history-making, iconic British photographers. He forged long lasting relationships with everybody from Frank Sinatra, Michael Caine, Raquel Welch and Faye Dunaway – who he married – and is the only photographer to have photographed every actor to play James Bond and every British Prime Minister from Winston Churchill to Gordon Brown. He captured The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at the beginning of their careers and documented the most influential film, music and political faces of our time.
The work of Terry O’Neill is held in national and private collections with no fewer than 75 portraits in London’s National Portrait Gallery alone.
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