Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada
At age 24, Kirkland was hired as a staff photographer for Look magazine and became famous for his 1961 photos of Marilyn Monroe taken for Look's 25th anniversary issue. He later joined the staff of Life magazine.
A Who's Who of notable persons have posed for Kirkland from the great photography innovator Man Ray and photographer/painter Jacques Henri Lartigue to Dr. Stephen Hawking. Entertainment celebrities he has photographed include Romy Schneider, Audrey Hepburn,Mick Jagger, Sting, Björk, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman, Orson Welles, Andy Warhol, Oliver Stone, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonardo DiCaprio, Coco Chanel, Marlene Dietrich, Brigitte Bardot, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton, and Diana Ross. Kirkland's portrait of Charlie Chaplin is at the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Kirkland is contracted for work around the world and has worked in the motion picture industry as a special photographer on more than 150 films including 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sound of Music, Sophie's Choice, Out of Africa, The Pirate Movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Romancing the Stone, Titanic, and Moulin Rouge!. Some of his famous film shots include John Travolta in the dance sequence from Saturday Night Fever, a portrait of Judy Garland crying and the March 1976 Playboy pictorial of Margot Kidder. In 1995 Kirkland received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American motion pictures Society of Operating Cameramen.
Kirkland's next book project titled "A Life in Pictures" is scheduled for release in 2013. "Titanic" was the first picture book to reach No.1 on the New York Times Best Seller list and did so on both the hardcover and paperback lists.
Douglas Kirkland has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, the AFI Conservatory in Hawaii and Los Angeles, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena as well as the Kodak Centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
Family and personal life
His second wife Françoise was born in Paris, France and educated at the Sorbonne. She obtained degrees in Political Science and English. A publicist, she pursued a separate career but has worked with her husband as his agent and has been involved in his books projects including "Legends," "Body Stories," "Woza Africa," "James Cameron's Titanic," "Make Up Your Life," plus "With Marilyn: An Evening/1961," among others.
In 1993, photographer Douglas Kirkland presented the illustrated book titled: "ICONS: Creativity with Camera and Computer", published by Collins Publishers, which basically consists of sixty six original photographs of famous people that were modified digitally to result in a new creation, each accompanied by a commentary paragraph. Many of the pictures are of well known actresses and actors from Hollywood, it also includes music entertainers like Michael Jackson, Grace Jones and Billy Idol, fashion models; also it shows a couple of compositions of the physicist Stephen Hawking, etc. The cover of the book is based on a 1969 portrait of Andy Warhol.