Terry O’Neill – celebrity photographer
Terry O’Neill is a British photographer, best known as a portraitist of celebrities in 60s, 70s.
Terry was born on July 30, 1938 in London. In the 50s he moved to New York dreaming to become a jazz drummer and play in New York clubs. Soon his passion for music gave way to a passion for photography. In the 60s, Terry began to take pictures of the famous musicians, actors, athletes, and to cooperate with magazines including Rolling Stone, Paris Match, Vogue, Life and Look.
In 1956, Terry took picture of a sleeping man on the floor of Heathrow Airport. The man was the English Minister of the Interior. It was his success. The picture appeared on the cover of Sunday Dispatch. So Terry became the youngest photojournalist on Fleet Street, and received access to all cult celebrities of 60s.
During his first year as a staff photographer O’Neal was fortunate enough to take the very first official photo of the famous Beatles. Photo session took place in the yard of Abbey Road Studio. They were unknown at that time.
In the same year Terry took the famous picture of the last public appearance of Winston Churchill, when he left the hospital with the constant cigar in his hand.
A little later, the heroes of his works became Rod Stewart, Brigitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Kate Moss, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley and many other famous figures of our time.
O’Neill never used digital technology, because he “hates them”.
According to Terry he has photographed everyone he wanted. To date, the master has more than one million images in his archive.
He always thought that pre-plan a photo shoot nuances is meaningless. Interesting and really unusual images are born spontaneously and usually require no specific training. It is a brief moment of unplanned perfection, the right turn of the head, a breath of wind, the angle of sunlight, natural color combinations.
He used a very small camera and didn’t stand out from the crowd. Stars often forgot about his presence and were very natural. His small camera turned him into a friend who was trying to take an informal picture for memory.
From 1983 until 1986 Terry was married to actress Faye Dunaway. Their son Liam Dunaway O’Neill was born in 1980.
Terry is currently married to Laraine Ashton, a former model agency executive.