OUT OF A KING’S CROSS SKIP AND INTO THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Historic photographs nearly end up as landfill
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Historical photos of leading British cultural figures – including Daniel Day-Lewis, Damon Albarn, Alan Bennett, Tilda Swinton, Bob Geldof and Salman Rushdie – have been saved from being destroyed after being rescued from a condemned warehouse in King’s Cross. The important body of portraits from UK photographic team The Douglas Brothers had sat in a disused storage unit in London for two decades. The iconic set of images now sits in the National Portrait Gallery collection.
UK photographic duo, The Douglas Brothers (thedouglasbrothers.com), spent a decade photographing leading figures from the worlds of art, literature, film, music, sport and fashion. The brothers – real life siblings Stuart and Andrew Douglas – were once described as “the most desirable photographers of their generation.” They were the last people to photograph Salman Rushdie before he went into hiding.
In 1995 The Douglas Brothers stopped taking photographs, and went to America to direct movies and commercials. The brothers stored their photographic archive in a King’s Cross lock up that, nearly 20 years later, was earmarked to make way for re- development.
“The storage company took over a year to track us down,’ notes Andrew Douglas, now based in Hollywood. “Even then it was nearly too late.
“The building was about to be demolished,” adds brother Stuart Douglas, also in LA. “Ten years of work came very close to ending up as landfill.”
The Douglas Brother contacted London-based artist manager Tim Fennell (bonabattoir.com). “I received a phone asking me to drop everything and clear a lock up on a demolition site. I had 48 hours before the building was bulldozed. I retrieved 30 crates of negatives and prints that hadn’t seen the light of day for nearly two decades. It was a remarkable body of work, just sitting there, forgotten.“
The 14 portraits are: Bob Geldof, Shaun Ryder, Tilda Swinton, Damon Albarn, Alan Bennett, Bryan Ferry, Daniel Day-Lewis, Eric Clapton, Ian McEwan, John Le Carre, Kazuo Ishiguro, Kenneth Branagh, Peter Gabriel, Salman Rushdie. For further information visit http://thedouglasbrothers.com/