Terence Donovan (photographer)

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Terence Donovan
Terence Donovan.jpg
Born Terence Daniel Donovan
(1936-09-14)14 September 1936
Stepney, East London,
England
Died 22 November 1996(1996-11-22) (aged 60)
Nationality British
Occupation Photographer and film director
Children Terry Donovan, Dan Donovan, Daisy Donovan
Plaque outside Terence Donovan's former studios

Terence Daniel Donovan (14 September 1936 – 22 November 1996) was an English photographer and film director, best remembered for his fashion photography of the 1960s. He oversaw the music video to Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible".

Life and career[edit]

Donovan was born in Stepney in the East End of London to Lilian Constance V. (née Wright) and Daniel Donovan,[citation needed] and took his first photo at the age of 15. From age 11 to 15 he studied at the London County Council School of Photoengraving and Lithography.[1] The bomb-damaged industrial landscape of his home town became the backdrop of much of his fashion photography, and he set the trend for positioning fashion models in stark and gritty urban environments. Flats and gasometers were popular settings, and he often had the models adopt adventurous poses. He wedged one model up the side of a building, and photographed another as she posed dangling from a parachute.

Along with David Bailey and Brian Duffy (nicknamed by Norman Parkinson the 'Black Trinity'),[2] he captured, and in many ways helped create, the Swinging London of the 1960s: a culture of high fashion and celebrity chic. The trio of photographers socialised with actors, musicians and royalty, and found themselves elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were the first real celebrity photographers.

In the early 1970s Donovan branched out into film production and it was during this period that he moved his studio to 30 Bourdon Street, Mayfair, now marked by a memorial plaque.[3]

Donovan shot for various fashion magazines, including Harper's Bazaar and Vogue, as well as directing some 3000 TV commercials, and the rarely seen 1973 cop film, Yellow Dog starring Jiro Tamiya. He also made documentaries and music videos, and painted.

Donovan was a black belt in judo and co-wrote a popular judo book, Fighting Judo, with former World Judo Gold medallist Katsuhiko Kashiwazaki.[4]

Donovan committed suicide, after suffering from depression. His last interview[5] appeared in a British photography magazine a few weeks after his death.

Donovan was married twice. His first marriage to Janet Cohen was short lived; he remained married to his second wife Diana Dare until his death. He was the father of co-founder of Rockstar Games Terry Donovan, musician Dan Donovan (of Big Audio Dynamite) and television presenter Daisy Donovan.[citation needed]

Further reading[edit]

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