© Terence Donovan Archive
Terence Donovan
Photographer

Terence Donovan was born into a working class family, in East London in 1936. Fascinated by photographs and photographic processing, he started working aged 11 at the London School of Photo-Engraving, leaving at 15 to become a photographer’s assistant. After a year at the John French studio (1957–58) he opened his first photographic studio in 1959 aged 22.

Work poured into his successful studio, his versatility attracted a range of clients, including leading advertising agencies, fashion and lifestyle magazines: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Queen, and others. Donovan came to prominence during the now famous era ‘Swinging London,’ a postwar renaissance in art, fashion and photography.

Associated with David Bailey and Brian Duffy, these three English photographers (nicknamed the ‘Black Trinity’ by Norman Parkinson) revolutionized the world of magazine and newspaper photography. Shooting mostly with black and white film, Donovan’s iconoclastic, sometimes irreverent photography brought to magazines and advertising a new visual language rooted in the world he knew best – the streets of London’s East End. Taking models to bomb ravaged waste grounds or balancing them off steelworks and iron bridges, his gritty, noir-ish style was more like reportage than fashion photography – unlike anything that had gone before.

In the 1970s Donovan diversified, concentrating on advertising photography and the moving image. By the 1980s he was making award winning TV commercials and advertising campaigns, as well as music videos.

The Royal Family, particularly Princess Diana, formed part of the many commissions he undertook until his death in 1996. He was fiercely proud to be appointed Visiting Professor at Central St Martins School of Art. Though his interests were wide ranging, Donovan’s passion for photography remained overarching and constant throughout his four decade career.

Terence Donovan
Photographer

Terence Donovan was born into a working class family, in East London in 1936. Fascinated by photographs and photographic processing, he started working aged 11 at the London School of Photo-Engraving, leaving at 15 to become a photographer’s assistant. After a year at the John French studio (1957–58) he opened his first photographic studio in 1959 aged 22.

Work poured into his successful studio, his versatility attracted a range of clients, including leading advertising agencies, fashion and lifestyle magazines: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Queen, and others. Donovan came to prominence during the now famous era ‘Swinging London,’ a postwar renaissance in art, fashion and photography.

Associated with David Bailey and Brian Duffy, these three English photographers (nicknamed the ‘Black Trinity’ by Norman Parkinson) revolutionized the world of magazine and newspaper photography. Shooting mostly with black and white film, Donovan’s iconoclastic, sometimes irreverent photography brought to magazines and advertising a new visual language rooted in the world he knew best – the streets of London’s East End. Taking models to bomb ravaged waste grounds or balancing them off steelworks and iron bridges, his gritty, noir-ish style was more like reportage than fashion photography – unlike anything that had gone before.

In the 1970s Donovan diversified, concentrating on advertising photography and the moving image. By the 1980s he was making award winning TV commercials and advertising campaigns, as well as music videos.

The Royal Family, particularly Princess Diana, formed part of the many commissions he undertook until his death in 1996. He was fiercely proud to be appointed Visiting Professor at Central St Martins School of Art. Though his interests were wide ranging, Donovan’s passion for photography remained overarching and constant throughout his four decade career.

  • Jimmy DeSana: Salvation
    Publication
    Primary Information
    International
    Salvation is a previously-unpublished artist book by Jimmy DeSana that he conceptualized shortly before his death in 1990. The publication contains 44 of the artist’s late photographic abstractions that quietly and poetically meditate on loss, death, and nothingness. Depicted within the works are images of relics, body parts, flowers, and fruits that DeSana altered using collage and darkroom manipulations to create pictures that are both intimate and other-worldly. (more…)
  • Grey Crawford. Chroma, 1978–85, Vol 1
    Publication
    Beam Editions
    International
    In 1978 Grey Crawford created a body of colour photographic work that was so radical in its aesthetic and technique that few people to this day understand how it was made. Chroma documents late 70s Los Angeles in a period of radical urban transformation. Scenes of vernacular architecture, demolition sites and everyday places are contrasted with graphic forms that float on the surface and sit within the image. (more…)