Terence Donovan: Speed of Light exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery

Terence Donovan Speed of Light exhibitionWhether you’re a fan of his work or just love great photography, the Terence Donovan: Speed Of Light exhibition could be one to add to your summer hit list when it opens at the Photographers’ Gallery next month. The English photographer was a part of the artistic creativity movement that kicked off in London in the post war years and the exhibition is the first major retrospective to focus on his work.

It’s scheduled to open on the 15th July 2016 with a little over two months to catch the impressive imagery before it closes on the 25th September 2016. Entry to all exhibitions at the Photographers’ Gallery are free before 12pm and for people that prefer their lens work more on the afternoon side of the spectrum you can get an exhibition day pass for £3.


The Terence Donovan retrospective will feature some of his iconic vintage prints, combining well known classics and little known gems to showcase the full breadth of his work. It’ll take in celebrity portraits, like the excellent shot of Terence Stamp in the montage above, and fashion shoots for publications like French Elle, About Town and Nova.

You’ll also be able to see a hefty body of unpublished pieces to delve deeper behind the photographer’s work beyond his professional career, which stretched back to the 1950s. Mementos, memorabilia and machines will feature too, with magazine spreads, contact sheets and a selection of the cameras Donovan shot with all on display in the Speed Of Light exhibition.

Having contributed a similarly impressive body of work in video as still photography, the Gallery has included a number of his early filming. It’s then capped off by studio notes, sketches and diaries to provide more of a personal portrait of Terence Donovan himself.

The photographer was a big part of the art scene that both inspired and captured the essence London during the swinging sixties. Alongside David Bailey and Brian Duffy, he was a part of a trio of photographers that led the way in high fashion photography and celebrity chic, but it is his use of industrial backdrops and dramatic poses that gave him his own style. These were byproducts of his experience of living through the Blitz in central London and the advanced industrialisation that was such a big part of the war. It was a bold move at the time, which is one of the big reasons the exhibition stands out as one of the big displays to see in London this summer.

Image credits (left to right): French Elle, 1 September 1966 ‘Du Nouveau sous le nouveau tunnel’ Fashion by Cardin © Archives Elle/HFA. Terence Stamp, British Vogue, July 1967 © The Condé Nast Publications Ltd. French Elle, 2 September 1965 © Archives Elle/HFA


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