The Fahey/Klein Gallery celebrated Douglas Kirkland: A Life In Pictures on Thursday, January 11, 2024. The exhibition runs through February 24, 2024. 

Douglas Kirkland

This retrospective exhibition of photographs is a tribute to Kirkland’s prolific career. It spotlights his ability to capture the essence of iconic personalities through his unique lens. This exhibition includes a diverse selection of works, spanning from his early career to his most renowned portraits.

Douglas Kirkland

Douglas Kirkland, Marilyn Monroe (Laying down, horizontal), 1961; © Douglas Kirkland, courtesy of Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles

Throughout his six-decade career, Kirkland photographed some of the most legendary personalities in Hollywood. His photographs reveal the human side behind the celebrity facade. The photographer’s ability to establish a genuine connection with his subjects has defined his portraiture, therefore his images resonate with depth and authenticity. Whether portraying Marilyn Monroe wrapped in bedsheets or Brigitte Bardot playing cards on the floor, his portraits position legends in fun, intimate settings. From moments of joy and triumph to vulnerability and introspection. Kirkland captures their essence in a way that transforms them into enduring symbols, perpetuating their legendary status.

Douglas Kirkland History

Douglas Kirkland was born in Toronto and raised in Fort Erie, Ontario. After studying at the New York Institute of Photography, Kirkland returned to Canada. He later relocated to Virginia to work as a commercial photographer. While there, he wrote three letters to the influential fashion photographer Irving Penn, seeking employment.

In 1957, Mr. Penn hired him as his assistant. Shortly after, while still in his early twenties, Kirkland joined Look Magazine and later Life Magazine during the golden age of 1960’s and 1970’s photojournalism. His career as a leading celebrity photographer launched when he photographed Elizabeth Taylor for the cover of Look Magazine’s August 1961 issue. For the remainder of his career, Kirkland was a freelancer for various publications, Hollywood studios, and advertising agencies.

Cinema & Awards

Through the years, Kirkland worked on the sets of over one hundred motion pictures. Among them, The Sound of Music, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Fiddler on the Roof, Out of Africa, Sophie’s Choice, Rain Man, Titanic, as well as several Baz Luhrmann films, starting with Moulin Rouge! in 2001.

Kirkland was the recipient of multiple awards, among which a Lucie Award in 2003 for Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Photographs, and in 2011 he received the American Society of Cinematographers’ Presidents Award in recognition for his series of portraits of cinematographers for the “On Film” advertising campaign for Kodak. In 2017, the Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles honored him with the Award of Excellence for his lifetime of outstanding achievements. His work is in the permanent collections of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra Australia, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Eastman House in Rochester and the Houston Center for Photography. Kirkland died peacefully at home in Los Angeles on October 2, 2022. He was 88 years old.

On view: January 11, 2024 – February 24, 2024; Save the date: Saturday, January 13, 2024, Walk-through with Francoise Kirkland.

What: Douglas Kirkland: A Life In Pictures.
Where: The Fahey/Klein Gallery, 148 North La Brea Ave., LA 90036
When: Running through February 24, 2024

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