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Famed photographer Douglas Kirkland reveals how capturing Hollywood stars has changed since the 60s


No one can have a frown, a wart, or anything on their face anymore,' lamented photographer Douglas Kirkland, whose career spans six decades of Hollywood icons, to MailOnline.

The 79-year-old, whose one million-image archive stashed inside his Los Angeles home includes portraits of Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel and Brigitte Bardot, next to shots of Nicole Kidman, George Clooney and Rooney Mara, has not only witnessed the evolution of celebrity, but had a direct hand in transforming it himself.

And now, in a article-2166714-13DBC11E000005DC-332_634x484visual memoir, A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph, the Toronto-native, who found fame after photographing Marilyn Monroe for Look magazine's 25th anniversary issue in 1961, chronicles his illustrious career through his favorite images.

People often ask Mr Kirkland how he got to where he is today: an irrelevant question, he said.

'Whatever I did in 1960, half a century ago, I couldn't do that today and enter the field,' he admitted.

'The field has changed so much, you have to adapt to the times whatever you're doing. That's the reality of life, you have to be a different person today than you had to be then.'

One piece of advice he will give aspiring photographers is simple: 'Don't follow what so-and-so did forty or fifty years ago, or even last year. You just have to figure out how to come through the back door, then you can do almost anything.'

Though grateful that he had the opportunity to photograph celebrities when a 'coarser' aesthetic was desired, Mr Kirkland said his career has changed 'enormously' from a time when photographers called the shots, not the stars.

When you put an individual on the cover of a big picture magazine, like Life of Look, their career skyrocketed. As a photographer you were very empowered, people came to you, bowing to you and what you represented,' he recalled.

'The press agents were sending cars for you: "I hope you're happy with this, I hope you're happy with that," they'd say. A press agent for Marilyn, he was there to accommodate me, to facilitate the photographer - because we made a difference.

'But then there was a turnabout in the early Nineties,' he explained. 'The power of publications diminished, television was an entity that started to take away from it, and then of course online is now taking away from TV. So it went from those press agents trying to help you always, to them being very protective of their stars. The publications suddenly needed the stars more than the stars needed the publications.'

Regardless, as he nears his 80th birthday, Mr Kirkland is still having fun. He recently returned from Perth were he photographed Olivia Palermo for her fashion line, and he has no intention of slowing down.

Baz Luhrmann, director of The Great Gatsby and a longtime friend of Mr Kirkland's after years working together on film sets, jokes that he would like to be Mr Kirkland when he grows up.

'What really sets Douglas apart as a photographer is his ability to reveal the characters and the drama that go on behind the curtain and behind the camera,' the 51-year-old Australian writes in the book's forward. 'He has such an acute sense of and affinity with people, beauty, and life. He tells the stories within the stories.'








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