The 1990s marked a return to stills photography for Terence Donovan and saw him revisiting black and white film; his favoured medium during the early years of his career. In 1996, thirty years after London first swung, Donovan was once again commissioned to capture the spirit of the age, photographing a portfolio of British musicians including Jarvis Cocker, Bryan Ferry, Elvis Costello, Ronnie Wood and Goldie for the ‘Cool Britannia’ issue of GQ magazine.
The sitting with Lemmy, lead singer and founder of the English heavy metal band Motörhead, took place at Donovan’s Mayfair studio on the 7th July 1996. The stylist Catherine Hayward, who was working for GQ, later recalled ‘Lemmy requested some props: a large plate of charcuterie and some shooting rifles. I was responsible for sourcing the guns and his tweedy outfit from Holland and Holland. And the cold cuts, of course (which we didn’t use!).”
The series of compelling, pared-back studio portraits were published in the December issue of GQ and proved to be Donovan’s last significant body of work. Echoing his early days photographing the movers and shakers of the 1960s, it seems apt that Donovan was again documenting some of the figureheads of the second incarnation of ‘Swinging London’.
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