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Why We’re a Fan of Mr Terry O’Neill

April 2019Words by Ms Roni Omikorede

Mr Terence Stamp in Amsterdam on the set of Modesty Blaise, 1966. Photograph by Mr Terry O'Neill, courtesy of ACC Art Books

Look to the past and you may miss the future, but memory lane isn’t always a bad place to be. British photographer Mr Terry O’Neill takes us on a satisfyingly nostalgic trip with his book Rare And Unseen: A Portfolio Of Vintage Prints, published last year to coincide with his 80th birthday. It features a selection of photos from the two million images in Mr O’Neill’s archive of pictures taken in the 1960s and 1970s, when the former jazz drummer started snapping young bands, including The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, for Fleet Street newspapers.

Mr O’Neill doesn’t take as many pictures these days. “There are no Hollywood stars any more, really,” he told MR PORTER in an interview a few years ago.

“And anyway, I’ve already done everyone.” This is no humblebrag. The photographer has captured images of everyone from Sir Winston Churchill and Mr Nelson Mandela to Ms Diana Ross. He’s the insider’s insider, having shadowed Hollywood stars, musicians and politicians, such as Messrs Frank Sinatra and David Bowie. The foreword to Rare And Unseen is written by Ms Raquel Welch and Mr O’Neill was once married to Ms Faye Dunaway (he took that famous morning-after-the-Oscars-by-the-pool photograph).