Death of a Legend, Peter Gowland
Peter Gowland, one of the most incredible pinup and innovative photographers of the old days and of our days, has passed away. He was 93.
I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Alice and Peter Gowland, at which time they invited me to their home in Santa Monica and talked to me about photography. Peter’s life in the photography and hollywood business started many years ago back in 1936, doing small parts, usually uncredited, but made his main living doing photography of stars, and pinup models, at his home or on set or on location.
Peter was the first person to photograph Jayne Mansfield in a bikini, and has photoed many stars and celebrities through out his career. He is the son of Movie star Gibson Gowland and Sylvia Andrew, and has his own IMDB page Here. Peter didn’t act much, he took more to photography and made a life of it. He told me he never worked a day in his life, as he enjoyed what he did.
I had the fortunate experience of spending the afternoon with the Gowland’s 2-3 years ago, when I had gone to The Queen Mary in Long Beach. There was an exhibit of George Hurrell Photo on exhibit and I was not going to miss this. At the same time I asked Alice and Peter if I could come by and buy a couple of their books and talk for a few minutes. They told me they liked to sleep in the afternoon(Nap) and that I could only stay a few minutes. Well that few minutes turned into a couple of hours and some hearty discussion about Peter’s career and innovations to cameras and the industry.
I have several old magazines that Peter is published in, talking about how to shoot pinup and the article includes photos. I had started collecting magazines with pictures and articles of my favorite photographers, one of which is a 1951 US Camera magazine, with the article about pinups in it.
I had emailed Alice and Peter a week and a half ago, I wanted to buy some more photographs from Peter and start a bigger collection of his work, and that is when I found out Peter had broken his hip and was in the hospital. Peter was almost 94! He passed the operation to repair his hip with flying colors, but a few days later Peter passed away, on St. Patrick’s Day.
I found this out Peter had passed when I emailed Alice to find out and make sure Peter made it home from the hospital OK, when I received her response back, telling me of his passing, and how devastated she was. She said being in the hospital was too much for Peter. I can’t imagine being married to someone as long as they were married, and then losing my partner. My heart goes out to you Alice.
Rest in Peace Peter Gowland, Thanks for the memories and letting me meet you, one of the hugest legends in photography.
To see all of Peters great photography and achievements please see his website:
Jayne Mansfield Gallery by Peter Gowland
Various Stars and celebrities by Peter Gowland
including Rock Hudson, Tina Louise, Hugh Hefner and a wall of some of peters magazine covers, part of over 1000 covers.
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