Adventures in Deltiology

Do people still send postcards these days…?

Lifework: Norman Parkinson’s Century of Style

Just opened at the National Theatre in London is this fantastic exhibition of images by fashion photographer Norman Parkinson, celebrating the centenary of his birth, is well worth a visit. It’s free and open all day in the main foyer, with a stunning collection of photos spanning his very full career, up until his death in 1990, aged 77.

Often regarded as the father of modern fashion photography, Parkinson began his career in the 1930s, but soon broke out of the confines of studio portraiture with arresting images of models on location in exotic locales and with eye-catching angles and set-ups. For fifteen years, between 1945 and 1960 he was the principal fashion photographer for Vogue magazine and he produced some of his most interesting and iconic work during this post-war period.

To accompany the exhibition, the National Theatre’s excellent bookshop have a set of 15 postcards for sale (catalogue numbers suggest there are more to be had but at the moment only 15 are for sale in the shop). These are a superb selection from the hundreds of possible images. Mostly in black and white (there is one beautiful colour shot of Audrey Hepburn taken for Vogue in 1955, below) they range from the quirky and original, to the stylish and serene. 

The postcards are published by Artpress and are priced at 80p each. Printed on matt card they have undivided backs with publishing and photo credits etc. They are not currently available online but its worth a visit to the South Bank to see the exhibition and pick up a few of these. The shop also sells some exclusive theatre-related postcards, including images from their own productions, plus some actor cards taken from Simon Annand’s celebrated The Half (which I may cover in a later post).

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