Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Photograph - Jill Kennington, March 1964
  • Jill Kennington, March 1964
    Cowan, John, born 1929 - died 1975
  • Enlarge image

Jill Kennington, March 1964

  • Object:


  • Date:

    1964 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Cowan, John, born 1929 - died 1975 (photographers)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Carolyn Cowan

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 512M, case MX7, shelf TOP

John Cowan was a leading fashion photographer during the 1960s. His photographs epitomised the playful, graphically dynamic style of commercial photography practised in London during the period. His 1962 meeting with model Jill Kennington sparked an exciting period of image-making for numerous magazines and newspapers. Here, Kennington is seen in a characteristically high-energy shot, her long blond hair accentuated by blurred movement.

Physical description

Blurred black and white photograph of a woman shaking her long blond hair.


1964 (made)


Cowan, John, born 1929 - died 1975 (photographers)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin-silver print


Width: 57 cm, Height: 38 cm

Descriptive line

Jill Kennington, March 1964, (printed later), John Cowan, gelatin-silver print, given by Carolyn Cowan

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

John Cowan, through the light barrier, by Philippe Garner, Schirmer/Mosel, 1999

Labels and date

John Cowan captured the spirit and the explosive energy of the revolution in British culture which took shape in the early sixties. Self-taught, he had started working as a freelance photographer in 1958. Within a year his strong documentary and informal portrait work became the subject of a one-man exhibition, 'Through the Light Barrier'. Cowan soon found his metier as a fashion photographer. His 1962 meeting with model Jill Kennington sparked an exciting period of high-octane image-making for numerous magazines and newspapers.

In 1966 his studio provided the principal set for Antonioni's film, 'Blow-Up'. Cowan himself was prominent among the new generation of photographers whose lifestyles provided the inspiration for the film's central character. Cowan was ambitious and reckless.

The adventurous spirit that injected such energy into his pictures was ill-adapted to the practical aspects of sustaining his success. By the end of the decade he was in financial difficulties and falling out of step with the world of fashion. He left London for Milan, Paris and New York. Returning in 1970, he was unable to pick up the pieces of his career. His exhilarating work of the sixties was soon forgotten and his reputation eclipsed. [1999]


Fashion; Photographs


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.