Douglas Kirkland was born in Toronto Canada. He joined Look Magazine in his early twenties, and later Life Magazine during the golden age of 60’s/70’s photojournalism. Among his assignments were essays on Greece, Lebanon and Japan as well as fashion and celebrity work, photographing Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich among others.
Through the years, Douglas Kirkland has worked on the sets of over one hundred motion pictures. Among them, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, “2001 A Space Odyssey”, "Sound of Music", “Out of Africa”, “Titanic” “Moulin Rouge”, "Australia" and “The Great Gatsby” Baz Luhrmann’s film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire.
Some of his books are “Light Years”, “Icons”, “Legends”, “Body Stories”, “An Evening With Marilyn”, the best selling “James Cameron’s Titanic”, “Freeze Frame”, a decade by decade look behind the scenes from 50 years photographing the entertainment industry and “Coco Chanel, Three Weeks”. “Michael Jackson - the Making of Thriller” and his most recent monograph "A Life in Pictures".
Douglas Kirkland’s fine arts photography has been exhibited all over the world. His exhibition of Freeze Frame is now in the permanent collection of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills. His work is also in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian, the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra Australia, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Eastman House in Rochester and the Houston Center for Photography and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles.
He is also a sought after lecturer. In September of 2008, Vanity Fair Italy organized a retrospective of his work at the Museum of the Triennale in Milan. He is a member of the prestigious Canon’s Explorers of Light and as well as an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers. Some of the awards he has received include a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the American S.O.C., a Lucie Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Entertainment Photography from the IPA in 2003, The Golden Eye of Russia in April 2006. In February 2011, the American Society of Cinematographers ASC presented him with the prestigious President’s Award. In the summer of 2015, he received a special Nastri D'Argento (Silver Ribbon) at the International Taormina Film Festival. The Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles presented him with the Award of Excellence in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding accomplishments in September 2017. In Toronto, 2019, CAFA (Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards) gave him an outstanding achievement award for his career in photography.
Some of his books include Light Years (1989), Icons (1993), Legends (1999), Body Stories (1998), Freeze Frame (2007), An Evening With Marilyn (2002), Coco Chanel: Three Weeks (2008), the New York Times #1 best-selling James Cameron's Titanic (1997, With Marilyn (2012). A monograph on his career, Douglas Kirkland - A Life in Pictures, was released in September of 2013. His black and white volume “When We Were Young” was published in 2014. Freeze Frame: Second Cut was released in April 2017. His latest book, Physical Poetry Alphabet, came out in June 2018 published by Sylph Editions in London.
Kirkland’s assignments have taken him to all continents in the world (with the exception of Antarctica) where he worked on subjects as varied as: Astronomy in Chile, to The Trans Siberian Railroad, and fashion in Bali.
When not traveling the globe on assignment, his home and studio is in the Hollywood Hills where he lives with his wife and business partner Françoise.
The Douglas Kirkland Archive is a repository of Hollywood celebrity and popular culture during the last half-century.