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An Interview with Renowned Celebrity Photographer Douglas Kirkland

Photographer Jared Polin recently sat down with famous celebrity photographer Douglas Kirkland and his wife, Françoise, and recorded this 36-minute interview. It’s a peek inside the mind, life, and career of a legend.

Born in 1934, Kirkland is famed for his work with all kinds of stars. He has taken portraits of Marilyn Monroe, in 1961, as well as other famous names like Morgan Freeman, Michael Jackson, Paris Hilton, Charlie Chaplin, and more.

One of Kirkland’s famous portraits of Marilyn Monroe.

Talking about his shoot with Monroe, Kirkland says there’s an incredible pressure that comes with photographing mega stars. In fact, he believes that had the shoot gone poorly, “that would be my career down the pipes.”

But “the shoot went well,” Kirkland says. “That established me for photographing a lot of stars.”

Consequently, his star-studded list of subjects was kicked off because of his subsequent time spent working in the motion picture industry, where he has been a specialist photographer on over 150 films.

Douglas Kirkland (right) and his wife, Françoise (left).

Describing his many years spent jet-setting and traveling the world to different shoots, Kirkland and his wife reflect on the ease of travel in the 60s. They had quite a lavish life with relatively “no money” because “the film companies paid for all our expenses.” But these days, things have changed and photographers find themselves in a much harsher industry.

Kirkland’s archive of images currently stands at just under 1 million frames. That’s an impressive collection — one that requires dedicated personnel to maintain.

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