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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Terence Donovan

Terence Donovan was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. He rose to fame in the 1960s, when he captured the essence of Swinging London with his striking images of fashion models, celebrities and royalty. He was also a pioneer of film directing, creating iconic music videos and commercials. In this blog post, we will explore his life and legacy, and see why he is still regarded as a master of his craft.


Terence Donovan was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. He rose to fame in the 1960s, when he captured the essence of Swinging London with his striking images of fashion models, celebrities and royalty. He was also a pioneer of film directing, creating iconic music videos and commercials. In this blog post, we will explore his life and legacy, and see why he is still regarded as a master of his craft.


Donovan was born in 1936 in Stepney, East London, to a working-class family. He developed an interest in photography at an early age and studied at the London School of Photoengraving and Lithography. He started his career as an assistant to John French, a renowned fashion photographer, and soon opened his own studio. He quickly gained recognition for his innovative style, which contrasted with the conventional glamour of the time. He used gritty urban settings, dynamic poses and natural lighting to create a sense of realism and energy in his photos. He also experimented with different techniques, such as solarization, collage and multiple exposures.


Donovan worked for many prestigious magazines, such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and The Sunday Times Magazine. He photographed some of the most famous faces of the era, including Sean Connery, Twiggy, David Bowie and Princess Diana. He was part of the 'Black Trinity', along with David Bailey and Brian Duffy, who were considered the leading photographers of their generation. They were also celebrities themselves, mingling with the stars and enjoying a glamorous lifestyle.


Donovan was not only a photographer but also a film director. He directed over 3000 TV commercials, as well as documentaries and feature films. He is best known for his music videos for Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' and 'Simply Irresistible', which featured a band of identical women in black dresses and red lipstick. These videos have become classics of pop culture, and have influenced many other artists.


Donovan was also a painter, a judo expert and a philanthropist. He supported various charities, such as Save the Children and Shelter. He was married twice, and had three children: Dan Donovan, a musician; Daisy Donovan, an actress; and Terry Donovan, a co-founder of Rockstar Games.


Donovan died in 1996, at the age of 60, after suffering from depression. He left behind a rich legacy of images that have shaped the history of photography and film. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world and has inspired countless photographers and filmmakers. He once said: 'The magic of photography is metaphysical. What you see in the photograph isn't what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organized visual lying.' Terence Donovan was indeed a master of visual magic.


Donovan was born in 1936 in Stepney, East London, to a working-class family. He developed an interest in photography at an early age and studied at the London School of Photoengraving and Lithography. He started his career as an assistant to John French, a renowned fashion photographer, and soon opened his own studio. He quickly gained recognition for his innovative style, which contrasted with the conventional glamour of the time. He used gritty urban settings, dynamic poses and natural lighting to create a sense of realism and energy in his photos. He also experimented with different techniques, such as solarization, collage and multiple exposures.


Donovan worked for many prestigious magazines, such as Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and The Sunday Times Magazine. He photographed some of the most famous faces of the era, including Sean Connery, Twiggy, David Bowie and Princess Diana. He was part of the 'Black Trinity', along with David Bailey and Brian Duffy, who were considered the leading photographers of their generation. They were also celebrities themselves, mingling with the stars and enjoying a glamorous lifestyle.


Donovan was not only a photographer but also a film director. He directed over 3000 TV commercials, as well as documentaries and feature films. He is best known for his music videos for Robert Palmer's 'Addicted to Love' and 'Simply Irresistible', which featured a band of identical women in black dresses and red lipstick. These videos have become classics of pop culture, and have influenced many other artists.


Donovan was also a painter, a judo expert and a philanthropist. He supported various charities, such as Save the Children and Shelter. He was married twice, and had three children: Dan Donovan, a musician; Daisy Donovan, an actress; and Terry Donovan, a co-founder of Rockstar Games.


Donovan died in 1996, at the age of 60, after suffering from depression. He left behind a rich legacy of images that have shaped the history of photography and film. His work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world and has inspired countless photographers and filmmakers. He once said: 'The magic of photography is metaphysical. What you see in the photograph isn't what you saw at the time. The real skill of photography is organized visual lying.' Terence Donovan was indeed a master of visual magic.

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