| Features, Society

Shot To Fame: Remembering Terry O’Neill

‘One Year On’ Box Galleries highlights the late photographer Terry O’Neill’s eternal talent.

Ursula Andress by Terry O'Neill

Exploring the themes of fame, glamour and immortal beauty that characterised the life of acclaimed photographer Terry O’Neill Box Galleries presents Terry O’Neill Remembered, One Year On.

Opening on 16th November 2020 the exhibition will feature some of O’Neill’s rarest photographs spanning his 60-year career bringing together evidence of his massive influence on the canon of Western photography.

Working with the world’s most loved, celebrated, notorious and now lost celebrities we captured and immortalised everyone from David Bowie and Elton John to Amy Winehouse, Frank Sinatra and Elvis, the Queen to Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela to Tony Blair, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and every James Bond, from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig.

Singer David Bowie shares a cigarette with actress Elizabeth Taylor in Beverly Hills, 1975. It was the first occasion that the pair had met.
Singer David Bowie shares a cigarette with actress Elizabeth Taylor in Beverly Hills, 1975. It was the first occasion that the pair had met.

Founder and Owner of Box Galleries, Emma Moir, says: “It was a life-changing experience to have worked with Terry. Showing his work at Box Galleries was, and remains, an absolute privilege. He was the kindest, most humble, friendly man, making whoever he was talking to, be they a collector, a gallerist or a subject, feel like the only person in the room. I am so honoured to have hosted his final solo show in March 2019, where life-long fans were able to interact with him in our space. The memories and stories he shared with us will live on through his legacies: His charm, talent and his timeless photography.”

O’Neill traversed the highest pop cultural echelons for several decades and working his remembrances of stars at their peak is nuanced and telling. One year on we miss not just the incredible talent of the man but also the lived history that we created for all of us. As Michael Caine has noted “I can think of no other photographer who has contributed so much to our heritage.”

Terry O'Neil 2018
Terry O’Neill by Mark Thomas 2019

“I treated David like a Shakespearean actor as you never knew who was going to show up,” he says affectionately. “He could look alien-like or female-like; it was always so exciting as everything he did was so unpredictable.” – Terry O’Neill

The photograph of Faye Dunaway after the Oscars, is considered O’Neill’s greatest and widely credited as being the most iconic Oscars photograph of all time. The National Portrait Gallery has a copy in their permanent collection.

American actress Faye Dunaway takes breakfast by the pool with the day's newspapers at the Beverley Hills Hotel, 29th March 1977. She seems less than elated with her success at the previous night's Academy Awards ceremony, where she won the 1976 Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for 'Network'.
American actress Faye Dunaway takes breakfast by the pool with the day’s newspapers at the Beverley Hills Hotel, 29th March 1977. She seems less than elated with her success at the previous night’s Academy Awards ceremony, where she won the 1976 Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for ‘Network’.

“I didn’t want to take the photo everyone else would take. You know, the one right after, where they look surprised, happy, holding up their shiny new Oscar. I wanted to capture something different – the morning after. The moment when the star wakes up and it dawns on them that, overnight, everything in their careers, their lives, just changed. I explained the idea to Faye and told her, “If you win – meet me by the pool at dawn. Bring the Oscar.”

“She was staying at The Beverly Hills Hotel and I knew the guy who worked the pool. I asked him to let us in for a few minutes and then arranged the papers and the breakfast tray. I had it all set when she appeared, in her dressing gown, Oscar in hand. This photo was just us. A few years later, I married her. A few years after that, we divorced. She was always photographed as the iconic, stylish beauty, but she also had such an impish sense of humour.”

French actress Brigitte Bardot during the filming of ‘The Novices’ (Les Novices, 1970) directed by Guy Casaril in France.
American screen stars Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood meet by chance outside a motel in Tucson, Arizona, 1972.
American screen stars Paul Newman and Clint Eastwood meet by chance outside a motel in Tucson, Arizona, 1972.
Singer David Bowie poses with a large barking dog for the artwork of his 1974 album ‘Diamond Dogs’ in London.
Terry O'Neill, Brigitte Bardot, Spain 1971,
Terry O’Neill, Brigitte Bardot, Spain 1971,

One of his favourite images was of a windswept Brigitte Bardot, cigarette between her lips, on the set of The Legend of Frenchie King in 1971. “I was drunk on how stunning she was,” O’Neill remembered. “It was a picture in a million.”

Terry O’Neill Remembered, One Year On opens 16th November 2020
Box Galleries, Chelsea, UK

All Photos © Terry O’Neill/Iconic Images, except where noted/Mark Thomas.

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