Terry O'Neill was born 30 July 1938 in the East End of London. He is one of the world’s most celebrated and collected iconic photographers, with work hanging in national art galleries and private collections worldwide. He has photographed the frontline of fame for over six decades, having a knack for capturing his subjects candidly or in unconventional settings. He gained renowned documenting the fashions, styles, and celebrities of the 1960s.
He was awarded The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary medal 'in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography' in 2011.
He started his career working in a technical photo unit at London's Heathrow Airport. By chance he photographed a sleeping figure in a waiting area who turned out to be Britain's Home Secretary, R.A.B Butler. The picture appeared on the front page of the Sunday dispatch. He then started working on Fleet Street in 1959 being the youngest photographer in Fleet Street, taking pop pictures for The Daily Sketch - his first job being to photograph Laurence Olivier.
He was one of a group of talented young photographers who helped create the photographic icons of the swinging 1960s. His peer group were Patrick Litchfield and Lewis Morley, with David Bailey, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy from the East End.
His reputation grew during the 1960s and O’ Neill’s marriage to Faye Dunaway amongst other connections, helped contribute to his success and profile internationally, particularly in the U.S.A from the 1970s onwards. In addition to photographing the period’s show-business elite such as Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he also photographed members of the British Royal Family and other prominent figures, showing a more natural and human side to these subjects than had usually been portrayed before.
Throughout his career, he has photographed many icons from the world of celebrity, including Bridgitte Bardot, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Kate Moss, Elvis Presley and rock bands such as The Who, The Rolling Stones, U2 and The Beatles.
His work has been published extensively in most of the major newspapers and popular journals internationally, producing covers for Time, Newsweek, Stern, Paris Match, The Sunday Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Life and is featured in a number of specialist books. His work is regularly exhibited internationally and is always well received, as the icons he has shot are such a recognizable part of the culture of the second half of the 20th century.
O’Neill’s vintage photos are very rare and particularly coveted by collectors of his work.