Side step: see the father of modern fashion photography

3 Mar


London Fashion Week may be over, but you can still appreciate the beauty of chic design and posey-posey models at Southbank’s latest photography exhibition, Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style.

Parkinson was clearly a man ahead of his times. In this exhibition of photographs and portraits that span his long career, you’ll understand why many say he was a pioneer in his field.

He introduced elements that are so common to us nowadays, but were ground-breaking for his time. On Facebook and Instagram we can’t just post a normal photograph. No, that’s too boring. Parkinson would have thought so too, and used exotic locations, bizarre props and unusual juxtapositions in his work.


The majority of photos are of female models back in the day, but you’ll also recognise celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn, Maggie Smith, Mick Jagger and David Bowie. Parkinson has included a few of himself, either solo or mingling with models not just standing normally as you’d expect, but hanging upside down.

He would have been 100 years old this year, and quite the over-achiever (it’s Sir Norman Parkinson, CBE) with his work appearing in magazines such as Vogue and Town and Country. So pay him some respect and see how his eccentricity reflected into his photography.

NPG x30113; The Young Look in the Theatre by Norman Parkinson

The details:

Location: National Theatre, Southbank, Waterloo tube.

Opening times: Mon – Sat: 9.30am – 11pm, some Sundays: 12 noon – 6pm.

Free admission.

1st March-12th May.



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