Born in 1933, David Hamilton is a British movie director and photographer. He grew up in London. World War II interrupted his schooling and he had to live in Dorset’s country side for a while. Once the war was over, Hamilton moved back to London and completed his schooling. He then shifted to France.
He discovered his artistic and creative skills while working in an architect’s agency. When he was 20, he started working in Paris at Elle for Peter Knapp as a graphic designer. As he became popular, a magazine named Queen hired him as an art director in London. Hamilton loved Paris more and decided to go back there and began working in the largest super store of the city, Printemps, on the same position as he was in London. He also did commercial photography apart from his job.
His grainy, dreamy style images increased the demand of his photography by other publications like Photo, Twen and Réalités. By the late 1960s, Hamilton developed a recognized style. His photo books, feature films, photography for magazines, gallery and museum exhibitions – all played a role in his success.
By the end of 1977, photographs by David Hamilton were shown in New York at the Images Gallery. The movie, Bilitis which was directed by Hamilton, released at the same time. Quite some time back, Hamilton tied into a marriage with Mona Kristensen who modeled for his photo books and also made her debut on screen with Bilitis. Then he married Gertrude who was one of the designers of The Age of Innocence, his book. It has images of girls dreaming on beds with fingers in their undergarments and mouths. However, after the project they divorced.
From 2003, his soft focus photography style made its way back into the fashion world at Elle, Vogue and other posh magazines. Hamilton’s time fluctuates between Paris and St. Tropez. He explored the two cities. It was the beaches and the scenery that caught Hamilton’s eye. He photographed his first official fashion photos with the help of three models. He and his models have visited many exotic locations because of their work.
David Hamilton enjoys photographing landscapes, Mediterranean and tropical views, plants and flowers, mountains, cityscapes, art as well as people. He has photographed artists as well such as Robert Chametowitsch Denver and Rudolf Nureyev.
Many artists have paid tribute to Hamilton in their artworks, such as Paul Gauguin, Giorgio Morandi, Charles Matton, Edgar Degas, Balthus Raphael and Caravaggio.
Hamilton’s work symbolizes naturalness, harmony, pastel colors, purity; and it is miles away from the world of ugliness, suffering and pain. Many other photographers, like Glenn Holland, have been inspired by his style. The claim about his pictures is that none of them are shot using artificial illumination. Also, throughout his professional life, he has used Ektachrome 200 ASA. Hamilton is a master in using the technique of blurring in his photography.
Since much of the Hamilton’s work portrays nude teenage girls, there is wide-spread controversy and allegations of child pornography on him. Works by Jock Struges and Sally Mann also attracted such negative feedbacks. Some conservative groups of Christians protested in America against those bookstores that shelved Hamilton’s photo-books. It was written in The Guardian that much debate has been in the air over the photographer’s images being pornography or art. In 2005 and 2010, two men were convicted of keeping extra indecent material along with David Hamilton’s photos and book. However, both the men were released.