Douglas Kirkland is not your typical photographer. With over 50 years of photography experience and more than a million photos in his archive, Kirkland is what you would consider an industry legend. Over the years, fifteen books have been published displaying his work, many of them over one or several celebrities. In his 16th book, Kirkland gets the chance to show a culmination of his life’s work. From his early photos of the late celebrities John Lennon and Audrey Hepburn, to his more recent work with digital cameras, this book titled A Life in Pictures celebrates one man’s incredible journey through the world of photography:
Kirkland has used a wide variety of cameras throughout his career including everything from a Kodak Brownie, a 35mm Nikon, a Hasselblad, a Mamiya 6×7, to a Canon 5D Mark III.
As someone who has been in the industry for a long time, Kirkland has many great pieces of advice to give. Not just on technique or skill, but on making a living in the world of photography. He talks about chatting with celebrities, trying new and different ideas when photographing, and always enjoying the work he does.
But perhaps one of the biggest questions plaguing viewers of Kirkland’s work is how one gets into the position that he has claimed. How does one gather such an incredibly vast work of photographs? The answer is simple: Passion and Determination. The passion part is easy, either you have it or you don’t. Kirkland definitely had a passion for photography when he began his career and that passion still burns inside him today. He still loves to take photographs and he doesn’t believe that his best days are behind him. He continues to shoot, experiment, and enjoy. But the second part of his success is his determination. Once he developed a small portfolio, Kirkland went around his neighborhood showing off his work to the little publications that would hire him. He knew that he couldn’t start from the top, but he could start somewhere, and this is where most people get disheartened in the start of their photography career. They want to be a photographer for Time or National Geographic or some other big name magazine or company. But it takes years of hard work and determination to get there. Kirkland has had 50 years to make it where he is today. So don’t feel discouraged when Sports Illustrated doesn’t hire you right off the street.
“My life in pictures has been very good to me, and I can’t think of a better life.”
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