Douglas Kirkland

60 anni di cinema in fotografia

“Freeze Frame”: the cinema in its development, the decisive moment, the spectacular detail, the emotion stolen on the most legendary film sets. Out of Africa , Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid , Moulin Rouge! , Titanic , 1900 , The Charge of the Light Brigade , The Great Gatsby , New York, New York , Sophie’s Choice . Not only the most famous of Hollywood’s stars and co-stars but also cameramen, make-up artists, costume designers – become unknowing protagonists of a sixty years long “film” about the history of cinema. Vittorio De Sica, Marcello Mastroianni, Dominique Sanda, Sofia Loren are just some of the numerous celebrities Douglas Kirkland photographed. He captured the intimacy between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, the seduction in Brigitte Bardot’s eyes, Faye Dunaway’s elusive charm; he caught Leonardo Di Caprio, Kate Winslet and James Cameron’ exhausted look, while they were shooting in the freezing water of Titanic .

Even when he wasn’t on film sets, Kirkland was able to relate to the innermost personal side of the film stars he met: Marlene Dietrich, Jack Nicholson, Peter O’Toole, Paul Newman, Peters Sellers, Jane Fonda and many others.

The exhibition Freeze Frame features over 90 colour and black and white photographs, organized in a chronological path divided in five decades, from the 60s to present day.

In cinema (and in photography) there is little time to tell the story, and there is a lot to be told. Douglas abandons himself to his instincts. He takes risks, he searches. He is not interested in beauty for its own sake; he wants life to stop still. This is why he is one of the greatest “freezeframe” directors of our time—precarious and unstable, just like cinema.

Cristina Comencini


Number of Works *
100 B&W and color photographs

various size from 40 x50 cm to 60 x 80 cm
• 51 photographs > 40 x 50 cm
• 39photographs > 60 x 50 cm
• 19photographs > 60 x 80 cm
• 1photograph > 40 x 80 cm

Type of prints
Archival pigment prints

Additional Material
• video How ECC was born 3’ 52’’
by James Whitlow Delano
• video Ocean Rage 8’ 10’’
by Tandem Reportages – Matilde Gattoni and Matteo Fagotto

Additional activity
some of the photographers are available for talks and conferences

Freeze Frame Second Cut – ed Glitterati


* The number the photographs can be adapted to specific curatorial projects and the structure of the venue

Douglas Kirkland is a legendary on-set photographer: he has captured scenes from Hollywood blockbusters to independent productions. Canadian born, he started working as Irvig Penn’s assistant. In 1958 he became staff photographer at Look Magazine. In 1961 he took the iconic photographs of Marilyn Monroe lying in bed, dressed in nothing but the finest silk sheets. Since then Kirkland has documented over 170 international film sets.He got in close contact with the most famous celebrities of the last 60 years, allowing them to be themselves, showing the way they want to be seen, even when they were vulnerable and accessible. Douglas Kirkland was on the main sets when the most renowned sequences of the films that stuck forever in our memories were shot. From this privileged point of view he has been able to capture the heroes of the silver screen from the past 50 years.
His publications include: Freeze Frame: 5 Decades/50 Years/400 Photographs ; Icons ; Legends and Douglas Kirkland – A Life in Pictures .
His photographs are in the permanent collections of museums around the world, including his picture of Charlie Chaplin at the National Portrait Gallery in London. During his career he won numerous awards and in the summer of 2015 he received a special Nastro D’Argento (Silver Ribbon) at the International Taormina Film Festival.