domingo, 15 de enero de 2017


Former husband of Princess Margaret, renowned for photographing the establishment, dies peacefully at home.

Lord Snowdon, the celebrity, society and documentary photographer who was as well known for his marriage and divorce to Princess Margaret, has died aged 86.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen had been informed of his death. In a statement Camera Press, the agency with which he worked, said: “The Earl of Snowdon died peacefully at home on 13 January 2017.”

Snowdon, born Antony Armstrong-Jones, was one of the UK’s best-known photographers for more than 50 years.

He was already established as a fashion photographer when he met and married Margaret in 1960, choosing to be the 1st Earl of Snowdon, after his favourite mountain.

The marriage meant he too was a member of the royal family, giving him a cachet which helped him become, in effect, the official photographer of the 1960s establishment. The list of who Snowdon photographed is staggering, being more or less anybody who was anybody.

 Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret wave to onlookers from the Buckingham Palace balcony on their wedding day on 6 May 1960
Lord Snowdon and Princess Margaret wave to onlookers from the Buckingham Palace balcony on their wedding day on 6 May 1960. Photograph: Ullstein Bild/Getty Images
In 2014 he gifted 130 original prints to the National Portrait Gallery, portraits which included actors John Hurt, Alan Bates and Julie Christie, musician Yehudi Menuhin, writer Graham Greene, artist Barbara Hepworth and historian Anthony Blunt. The gallery also held a display of his work in 2014.

The gallery’s director, Nicholas Cullinan, said Snowdon’s “contribution to photography has been profound and far-reaching”.

 He added: “His portraits, many of which he has generously gifted to the gallery, have become a major part of the permanent collection, and stand as some of the most striking and enduring images of the 20th and 21st centuries. Lord Snowdon was also a frequent visitor to the gallery, whose warmth, good humour, and gentleness will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.”

In 1956 Snowdon joined Vogue magazine and became its longest-serving photographer. His portraits of David Bowie and an intense Martin Amis featured in last year’s Vogue 100 show at the National Portrait Gallery.

Alexandra Shulman, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief, said Snowdon was “one of the great photographers of the age”. She added: “His relationship with British Vogue over more than half a century has been one of the most important in the magazine’s history.

“Working across fashion, portraiture and reportage, his body of work contains many of the most memorable images of the time and demonstrated an eye that simultaneously framed what was before him whilst making that subject completely his own. His acute sense of style, his prowess as a raconteur, and his passion for his work made him a remarkable colleague and contributor.”

Snowdon also regularly worked for the Sunday Times magazine, becoming its artistic adviser, and worked on documentary subjects including mental health, disability and loneliness.

Born into a wealthy, well-connected family, Snowdon was educated at Eton before going to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied architecture but failed his finals. He did, however, cox the Cambridge boat to victory in the 1950 Boat Race.

His wedding to Margaret was the first royal marriage to be televised, but it was a relationship which was often difficult and tempestuous. It was not something he talked about – he was always discreet and rejected lucrative offers to write a book.

Margaret and Snowdon, who enjoyed many breaks abroad at the villa given to the princess as a wedding present, Les Jolies Eaux on Mustique, separated in 1976 and divorced in 1978. Snowdon later married Lucy Lindsay-Hogg and they too divorced in 2000.

Although highly regarded as a photographer, Snowdon was modest about his abilities, once telling the Guardian: “None of my photographs are great photographs – they’re just pictures that hopefully record a moment to make you laugh, or smile, and sometimes cry.”

Nor was he one for technology. “I’m not remotely interested in lenses and all that, so I’m buggered if I’m going to explain the technical details behind this picture. I’ll just say I never think about flash. Bugger flash. Nor do I use digital things. I don’t understand them and I don’t want to.”

The process of taking a picture should be simple, with the subject more important than the photographer, he believed. “I think a photographer should be a chameleon, or a fly on the wall. I want to be invisible when I’m wandering about. That’s why my camera is very small. The photographer himself is unimportant.”

In a long career Snowdon produced 14 photography books, made seven documentaries and in 1962 designed the aviary at London zoo, which still stands.

He is survived by his four children: the furniture designer David Armstrong Jones, Viscount Linley; the artist Lady Sarah Chatto; Lady Frances von Hofmannsthal; and Jasper William Oliver Cable-Alexander.

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