David Hamilton: The Controversial Photographer Who Captured 4500 Artistic Images of Young Girls
David Hamilton was a British photographer and film director who became famous for his nude photographs of adolescent girls. His images, which often had a dreamy and soft focus effect, were published in dozens of books and magazines, as well as featured in five feature films. He was also influenced by the paintings of Lucas Cranach and other Renaissance artists.
Hamilton was born in London in 1933 and grew up during World War II. He moved to France in his twenties and worked as a graphic designer and art director for various magazines, including ELLE and Queen. He started photographing commercially in the late 1960s and developed his distinctive style of eroticism and innocence. He also lived in New York and St Tropez and had several romantic relationships with his models.
Hamilton's work was controversial from the start, as he often depicted young girls in suggestive poses and settings. He faced accusations of child pornography and indecency, as well as protests and lawsuits from some of his former models. He defended his work as artistic and claimed that he never exploited or harmed anyone. He also enjoyed a loyal fan base and a revival of popularity in the 2000s.
Hamilton's career spanned over four decades and produced more than 4500 artistic photographs, which are collected in various books and websites. Some of his most famous books include Dreams of a Young Girl (1971), The Age of Innocence (1995) and Erotic Tales (2006). His films include Bilitis (1977), Laura (1979) and Tender Cousins (1980).
Hamilton died in 2016 in Paris, apparently by suicide, after four women accused him of raping them when they were teenagers. His death sparked a debate about his legacy and the ethics of his work. Some critics condemned him as a pedophile and a predator, while others praised him as a visionary and a master of light and beauty.
David Hamilton remains one of the most controversial and influential photographers of the 20th century. His images are still admired by some and reviled by others, but they cannot be ignored or forgotten.
Hamilton's style of photography was influenced by his admiration for the paintings of Lucas Cranach and other Renaissance artists. He used a photographic technique akin to painting, creating soft focus and muted colors with natural light and no filters. He also experimented with different grains and exposures to achieve a dreamy and nostalgic effect. He claimed that his images were not erotic, but rather expressions of beauty and innocence.
Hamilton's models were mostly young girls who posed nude or semi-nude for him. He often found them in the beaches of St Tropez or in his studio in Paris. He developed close relationships with some of them, such as Mona Kristensen, who starred in his film Bilitis and became his lover. He also collaborated with other artists and photographers, such as Irina Ionesco and Robert Mapplethorpe. He said that he never forced or coerced anyone to pose for him, and that he always respected their wishes and feelings.
Hamilton's work was widely published and exhibited around the world. He sold millions of copies of his books, which include Dreams of a Young Girl (1971), Sisters (1972), The Dance (1972), Private Collection (1976), The White Pebble (1980) and Twenty Five Years of an Artist (1993). He also directed five feature films, which are Bilitis (1977), Laura (1979), Tender Cousins (1980), A Summer in St Tropez (1983) and First Desires (1984). His work was praised by some critics and celebrities, such as Salvador Dali, Federico Fellini, Elton John and Madonna. aa16f39245