In Review: Snowdon: A Life in View

28.11.14

© SNOWDON: A Life in View by Antony Armstrong Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, Rizzoli New York, 2014.
I absolutely love the work of the 1st Earl of Snowdon, so it was a real joy to take a look at his new publication, A Life In View. Curated by the legendary photographer himself, and his youngest daughter Frances von Hofmannsthal, Snowdon: A Life in View looks back on an exceptional life through a selection of 175 iconic full-colour and black-and-white fashion photographs and portraits taken throughout his expansive and influential career. The book also features articles and texts by friends and colleagues of Snowdon who have written about different aspects of his work: Alexandra Shulman on being his editor at British Vogue, Suzy Menkes on his work for Issey Miyake in the 1980s, A.A. Gill on his documentary work, Grace Coddington on being his model and editor, and Lisa Immordino Vreeland on his correspondence with Diana Vreeland. 

Princess Margaret, 1959. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive
At the start of his photography career in the early 1950s Snowdon focused on theater, fashion, and society subjects, and began a six-decade career with British Vogue. In 1960, he married Princess Margaret, the sister of Queen Elizabeth II, in the first globally televised Royal wedding.  In the early 1960's Snowdon worked with The Sunday Times magazine on a range of documentary subjects from mental health to loneliness, and in 1965 Private View was published—an extensive and beautiful book on the London art scene which has now become a cult classic. 

Nureyev/Fontaine in Sunday Times Magazine, 1961. Courtesy of Snowdon.
Over his prolific career Snowdon has photographed a vast range of cultural figures like Cecil Beaton, Charlie Chaplin, David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich, Bridget Riley, David Hockney, Serge Gainsbourg, Yves Saint Laurent, and Jack Nicholson that are featured in the book, amongst many others. In addition to iconic portraits, and legendary fashion images, archival material in the book includes previously unpublished Polaroids, private scrapbooks, and letters. As his daughter, and collaborator on this book, Frances von Hofmannsthal, states; “This book of stories and photographs only makes up a small fraction of my father’s work. The idea is not that it be a complete view, but a very personal one, put together with affection and curiosity, with a love and a lifetime of familiarity.”

Diana Vreeland. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive.
If you're in London make sure you go along to a special Snowdon exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.  Snowdon has given 130 original prints including many of his iconic images to the National Portrait Gallery, and this gift is being celebrated by a display of his photographs curated by Helen Trompeteler, the National Portrait Gallery’s Assistant Curator of Photographs.

The exhibition runs until the 21 Jun 2015, with free admission. To find out more about the exhibition click here. 

Marlene Dietrich, Cafe de Paris, 1956. Photograph by Snowdon / Courtesy of Trunk Archive.
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