Douglas Kirkland’s passion for photography began in his youth and launched a six-decade journey that shows no signs of slowing down. His biography is the stuff of dreams for a photographer. As a staffer at Look and Life magazines, he traveled the world on assignment during the golden age of American photojournalism. He has also worked on the sets of over 100 films, photographing stars ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Michael Jackson. He has photographed astronomical observatories in Chile and railroads in Siberia. He’s published several books, and his photos have been showcased in exhibits worldwide.
It’s as impressive a résumé as you’ll find in the photographic world.
But when I met Douglas Kirkland, what impressed me most was his warmth and his generous spirit. He loves connecting with people. He loves what he does and he loves sharing his photographic passion and knowledge.
These traits are immediately obvious in Douglas Kirkland on Photography, a new monthly series in the Online Training Library®. Each month, Douglas explores a variety of real-world photographic scenarios. Follow along on a photo shoot as Douglas describes his technical and creative processes. After each shoot, Douglas reviews the results and points out the differences that can separate a good photograph from a better one.
Douglas’s tools are as diverse as his subjects. He might shoot with a digital SLR one day, a medium-format film camera the next day, and an 8×10 Deardorff view camera on the day after that. He’ll use strobes for one shoot and natural light for another. The subject is what matters, and Douglas chooses his tools accordingly.
You’ll see each of these tools in action in our new series. And because sustaining a six-decade career means being able to adapt to changing business conditions, you’ll also hear insights into the business of photography.
In the first installment of the series, Douglas shows how he works with natural light to create beautiful portraits. Next month, we’ll head into his studio for a look at shooting under the lights.
It’s a thrill for all of us to work with Douglas and his wife and business partner, Francoise, on this series. We’re eager to hear what you think of it—and what you’d like to learn from Douglas in future installments.
For an introduction to Douglas and his work, see our Creative Inspirations documentary that features him.