I think Friday was the day when London made me believe there was a possibility of spring, and even summer, in this country. I could not believe the sunshine and the heat until I went outside. I took the day off from my collegiate duties to just walk around the city, absorbing as much vitamin D as I could. Londoners must have thought the same thing because everyone was outside. The city's terraces were absoultely packed and St James Park was full of stripy deckchairs for people to sunbathe and couples laying on the grass under the cherry trees. I feel like I fell in love with the city all over again. The Southbank was heeving with activity. But I found my quiet place inside the National Theatre. I popped around to see Norman Parkinson's exhibition of photographs marking the centenary anniversary of the photographer. I think he was a brilliant artist, he had an eye for perspective and frame. He built his pictures carefully but you get an impression of freshness and spontaneity when looking into them.
The showcase traces Parkinson's lengthy career, from his first photographs taken before World War II to shots before his death in 1990. You can see portraits of the Royal Family, stage and screen actors, political and music stars as well as photographs of his dramatic, elegant and pioneering fashion photography.
"Norman Parkinson was exactly what you would imagine and hope a fashion photographer in the second half of the 20th century would be - dapper, exciting, a little louche and unerringly orientated towards beauty" said exhibition curator John Langley. "But, his art was to bring a context of reality to his subjects. His work charts the passage from the Thirties mannequins to contemporary supermodels, and visitors to the exhibition will be surprised at just how much his images are already in their consciousness"
Here are my favourite photographs from the exhibit
Wenda Parkinson.1949. Taken for Vogue in front of St. Pauls Cathedral. Wenda Parkinson was a fashion model, author and wife of Norman Parkinson
Cathy Denis. 1950. American Vogue Cover, November 1950
Model wearing a Legroux Soeurs Hat. 1952. Vogue
The Art of Travel. 1951. Wenda Parkinson on a Nairobi landing strip. Vogue
Audrey Hepburn. 1955. Taken on the flm set of War and Peace near Rome.
Claudia Cardinale. 1961
Three Little Black Dresses. 1961. The Italian Collections. Fashion by Capucci, taken in Florence. Queen, March 1961.
Apolonia Van Ravenstein. 1971. Taken for Vogue, 1971 on Bird Island, Seychelles.
Fashion Model in Black Suit, 1973. Model wearing Yves Saint Laurent black suit, hat and pearls in Portugal for Vogue, 1973.
Isabella Rossellini. 1982.
P.D One last picture I took laying on the grass at St James Park...
Norman Parkinson's Century of Style is on at the Lyttleton Exhibition Space (National Theatre) until the 27th of May