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Death of a Legend, Peter Gowland

March 21, 2010 by  
Filed under All Articles, Featured

How to Make Hollywood Portraits

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:

Peter Gowland

Peter Gowland April 3, 1916 - March 17, 2010

Peter and Alice Gowland and Myself (Larry "Darkman" Clark)

Peter and Alice Gowland and Myself (Larry "Darkman" Clark)

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.

Please feel free to comment below.

Thank You.

Peter Gowland

Peter Gowland

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5 Responses to “Death of a Legend, Peter Gowland”
  1. Jack Wegener says:

    This is indeed sad news. I came of age as a fine art photographer
    of female nudes in the early 1970s well before the days of the internet.
    Mr. Gowland was by de facto my mentor in those early years although
    we never met. He taught me a lot from how to pose models to the
    then mysterious model releases. I purchased his books and ultimately
    in the 1990s acquired a signed copy of one of his hard cover books.
    He was an innovator and pioneer in photography. I see no one like him

    I express my belated heartfelt thank you to Peter Gowland and my deepest
    sympathy to Alice Gowland who always was a part of the books I acquired
    with Mr. Gowland’s photography.

    Jack Wegener
    Savannah, GA


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] Friend, Mentor Peter Gowland, Photographer, innovator, and mentor to me has passed away. Read my post here __________________ — Larry"Darkman"Clark https://www.darkmansdarkroom.com […]

  2. […] I’ve also re-discovered the real secret behind marketing and sales online: TRAFFIC. If you have no traffic, you have no one to sell to. I’ve also figured out that for me, I need to blog and work on sites that I have an interest in what I am writing or selling. For instance, my site http://www.rockabillylifestyle.com, or my photography Website on Hollywood Glamour Photography: Darkmans Darkroom. Oh and you should have seen the jump in traffic when I blogged about Michelle Bombshell McGee, Jesse James Mistress( I almost Photographed her once). That was a hot topic. So was the death of Peter Gowland, The Pinup Legend. […]

  3. […] The operation was too hard on his body for him. Hell he was almost 93. The Gowlands and I… Here's a little write up I did on how I came to get my picture in their home […]

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