Terry O'Neill: "Stars" at Fotografiska Immerses Viewers in a Celebrity Filled Career and the Personality Behind the Works


He was just 25 years old when he joined a newspaper and captured the images of the then-unknown, up-and-coming band, The Beatles. This success was quickly followed by an opportunity to photograph another now renowned group, the Rolling Stones.

Following these two opportunities came a lifetime of iconic celebrity imagery for Terry O'Neill, making him one of the world's most published photographers from the 1960s all the way up until the early 2000s.

Terry O'Neill: "Stars" at Fotografiska is a retrospective exhibit of the of acclaimed photographer's career, with a massive collection of star-studded photos featuring famous subjects such as Brigitte Bardot, Mick Jagger, Audrey Hepburn, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Kate Moss and many, many more.

Images courtesy of Fotografiska New York

O'Neill's work is a crucial aspect in observing and understanding the cultural shift in the dissemination of celebrity imagery.

"His era spans a time when a photographer's access to famous sitters was much freer, and O'Neill made his name with his candid and unconventional settings. Now we are more likely to consume our celebrity content via their own social media accounts or through highly curated editorial in which the famous sitters often have much more veto over the content. O'Neill's images are nostalgic but there remains a freshness to his best images, made in a less filtered era," Sophie Wright, Executive Director of Fotografiska New York, said.

Image courtesy of Fotografiska New York

When entering the exhibition you are immediately greeted by well-known faces with short texts on the wall, including quotes from the late photographer himself reminiscing on his relationship with the subjects, such as how he was the catalyst in David Bowie and Elizabeth Taylor's lifelong friendship— introducing them and even capturing photos of their first moments meeting— giving insight on how much O'Neill truly had access to the world of celebrities at the time.

Images courtesy of Fotografiska New York

The ambience of the exhibition itself immerses the audience into all things O'Neill— red carpeting, symbolizing the access to the stars being showcased, walls covered with blow ups of some of the photographer's early contact sheets, and even a short film in which he takes us through some of his most recognizable images and how he shot them, hidden behind a curtain and presented in front of directors chairs.

Image courtesy of Fotografiska New York

Things just seemed to work out for O'Neill throughout his career, such as the completely candid image of Audrey Hepburn with a dove landing on her shoulder, the character and chemistry of both photographer and subject shining through.

It's clear in the curation of the show that a major part of the collaboration between the Fotografiska team and O'Neill's representatives was to introduce an appreciation for the personality behind the camera as well as the craft it took to make the work.

"I wanted viewers to feel engrossed in the glitz and glam of Hollywood and also the grittiness of the music industry, both of which Terry captured over many decades. I think most viewers know Terry's iconic images but aren't so familiar with the man behind the camera so it was important to me that the viewer leaves the exhibition knowing a little bit more about Terry as a person and not just the legendary photographer. After all, it was his personality and passion for jazz that got him in front of, the then-unknown, Beatles and Rolling Stones which led him to Frank Sinatra and gaining access to every other face we see in the exhibition," Phoebe Weinstein, Exhibitions Manager of Fotografiska New York said.

We'd like to thank the team at Fotografiska for everything that they do for the world of photography!

Terry O'Neill: "Stars" is showcasing now through September 16th at Fotografiska New York.

For more exciting photography exhibitions and events, check out our calendar.

written by eloffreno on 2023-07-31 #culture #news #culture #review #community #exhibition #shows #partners


  1. kaylalew
    kaylalew ·

    so cool to learn about!

  2. hervinsyah
    hervinsyah ·

    Awesome person 👍 I also like Paul McCartney's first wife approach when she was photographing Jimi Henrdix. And war photographer like Gilles Caron when photographing celebrity are just different. Agree with the point that today celebrity photo are not as sophisticated as at an analogue era. But old photographer such as Annie Leibovitz are still great when she photographed Messi and CR7 for Louis Vuitton

  3. polaroidlove
    polaroidlove ·

    The photo with Audrey Hepburn is gorgeous. 🥰

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