Lord Snowdon, the celebrity, society and documentary photographer who was as excellently known for his marriage and divorce to Princess Margaret, has died old 86.
Buckingham Palace said the Queen had been informed of his liquidation. In a statement Camera Press, the agency with which he included, said: “The Earl of Snowdon died peacefully at home on 13 January 2017.”
Snowdon, admit of Antony Armstrong-Jones, was one of the UK’s best-known photographers for more than 50 years.
He was already entrenched as a fashion photographer when he met and married Margaret in 1960, preferring to be the 1st Earl of Snowdon, after his favourite mountain.
The marriage indicated he too was a member of the royal family, giving him a cachet which took him become, in effect, the official photographer of the 1960s establishment. The tilt of who Snowdon photographed is staggering, being more or less anybody who was anybody.
In 2014 he masterful 130 original prints to the National Portrait Gallery, pictures which included actors John Hurt, Alan Bates and Julie Christie, musician Yehudi Menuhin, journo Graham Greene, artist Barbara Hepworth and historian Anthony Thoughtless. The gallery also held a display of his work in 2014.
The gallery’s kingpin, Nicholas Cullinan, said Snowdon’s “contribution to photography has been cabbalistic and far-reaching”.
He added: “His portraits, many of which he has generously first-class to the gallery, have become a major part of the permanent omnium gatherum, and stand as some of the most striking and enduring images of the 20th and 21st centuries. God Almighty Snowdon was also a frequent visitor to the gallery, whose heat, good humour, and gentleness will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his bloodline at this difficult time.”
In 1956 Snowdon joined Dernier cri magazine and became its longest-serving photographer. His portraits of David Bowie and an hotheaded Martin Amis featured in last year’s Vogue 100 authenticate at the National Portrait Gallery.
Alexandra Shulman, British Fashionableness’s editor-in-chief, said Snowdon was “one of the great photographers of the age”. She added: “His relationship with British Acceptance over more than half a century has been one of the most noted in the magazine’s history.
“Working across fashion, portraiture and reportage, his viscosity of work contains many of the most memorable images of the forthwith and demonstrated an eye that simultaneously framed what was before him whilst making that subservient to completely his own. His acute sense of style, his prowess as a raconteur, and his passion for his till made him a remarkable colleague and contributor.”
Snowdon also regularly shaped for the Sunday Times magazine, becoming its artistic adviser, and lift weighted on documentary subjects including mental health, disability and loneliness.
Born into a well-to-do, well-connected family, Snowdon was educated at Eton before affluent to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he studied architecture but slight his finals. He did, however, cox the Cambridge boat to victory in the 1950 Ship Race.
His compounding to Margaret was the first royal marriage to be televised, but it was a relationship which was habitually difficult and tempestuous. It was not something he talked about – he was always circumspect and rejected lucrative offers to write a book.
Margaret and Snowdon, who appreciated many breaks abroad at the villa given to the princess as a merging present, Les Jolies Eaux on Mustique, separated in 1976 and divorced in 1978. Snowdon later put together Lucy Lindsay-Hogg and they too divorced in 2000.
Although highly reckoned as a photographer, Snowdon was modest about his abilities, once weighty the Guardian: “None of my photographs are great photographs – they’re scarcely pictures that hopefully record a moment to make you joke about, 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 contemporary to explain the technical details behind this picture. I’ll perfectly say I never think about flash. Bugger flash. Nor do I use digital emotional attachments. I don’t understand them and I don’t want to.”
The process of taking a picture should be candid, with the subject more important than the photographer, he believed. “I contemplate a photographer should be a chameleon, or a fly on the wall. I want to be invisible when I’m go wool-gathering about. That’s why my camera is very small. The photographer himself is unimportant.”
In a eat ones heart out career Snowdon produced 14 photography books, conveyed seven documentaries and in 1962 designed the aviary at London zoo, which soundless 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.