Terry O’Neill has now gone to the Great Darkroom In The Sky.
What a great bloke…and what a nightmare he’s been take from photography, when we still needed his talent and great no-nonsense wit…
Armed with an epic creative talent, honed on Fleet Street during the Swinging Sixties, Terry photographed a Who’s Who of society, celluloid and music, as it exploded out of London…travelling across the Atlantic and beyond.
Anyone who was allowed the access he had, way before the pre-PR nightmare of Hollywood today, certainly had something about themselves.
I’d spent my teenage years trying to learn about photography, scouring newspapers and magazines and invariably, it was Terry who was always featured. He was his own great PR, he wa everywhere.
Later when I was working in Fleet Street…and along with many, no doubt…I was lucky on many occasions to say ‘Hi’ and have a quick chat with him at events he attended, to glean any titbit of photo-info from him and he was always ready with something, whether it was about film, lenses…or painting with light. He was always so approachable.
Finally last year at Photo London 2018, I blagged my way into the reception for the launch of the Leica MP ‘Terry O’Neill’ Limited Edition. After the presentation, I grabbed him for a quick chat ( = me blazing him with nervous questioning) and he let me take some portraits of him…before Richard Young hosed him down.
What a legend.
What can we learn from Terry O’Neill?
- Combine wit/charm with the ability to blend in.
- Shoot only quality, not quantity.
- Know when to speak to the subjects you are photographing.
- Be your own best PR