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What happens when a photographer plans to shoot swimsuits outdoors and it rains?, 1963

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Chelsea (photographed)

  • Date:

    1963 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Gunilla Mitchell

  • Museum number:

    E.3005-2004

  • Gallery location:

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

John Cowan was a leading fashion photographer in the 1960s. His photographs epitomised the playful, graphically dynamic style of commercial photography practised in London during the period. His partnership with model and photographer Jill Kennington sparked an exciting period of high-octane image-making for numerous magazines.

This photograph, a fashion study for the Daily Mirror, shows Jill Kennington in a bikini from Galeries Lafayette, standing on a table at the World’s End pub on Chelsea’s King’s Road. Although this was London’s most fashionable street during the 1960s, Cowan here revels in the contrast between the model’s youth, beauty and energy and the traditional scene of men playing cards over a pint of beer.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of a young blonde woman in a stripey bikini standing on a table surrounded by six men, interrupting their card game.

Place of Origin

Chelsea (photographed)

Date

1963 (photographed)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin-silver print

Dimensions

Height: 103 cm framed image, Width: 77.5 cm framed image, Depth: 4 cm frame

Object history note

John Cowan was a leading fashion photographer in the 1960s. His photographs epitomised the playful, graphically dynamic style of commercial photography practised in London during the period. His partnership with Jill Kennington sparked an exciting period of high-octane image making for numerous magazines. Cowan's work, with that of Ron Traeger and Michael Cooper was exhibted at the V&A in the 1999 exhibition 'Triple Exposure: three photographers of the '60s'. This exhibition was more recently toured by Fondacion La Caixa around regional venues in Spain. Key images from Cowan's oeuvre shown in the exhibition were selected by Charlotte Cotton for the national collection and given to the V&A by Cowan's estate holders. These will boost our holdings of fashion photography and act as a record of his successful exhibition and tour.

The model is Jill Kennington for the shoot 'What happens when a photographer plans to shoot swimsuits outdoors and it rains?' which took place at the World's End pub, King's Road, Chelsea.

Descriptive line

Cowan, John. 'What happens when a photographer plans to shoot swimsuits outdoors and it rains?', Britain (Chelsea), 1963. Fashion study for the Daily Mirror, 1963.

Subjects depicted

Card games; Tables; Bikini

Categories

Photographs; Advertising; Entertainment & Leisure; Fashion

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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