British film director Ken Russell, has died at the age of 84. His son, Alex Verney-Elliott, told the BBC he died in hospital on Sunday following a series of strokes.
The current exhibition of his photography ‘London Lost and Rediscovered’ has been extended at Dimbola Lodge on the Isle of Wight, until 22nd January 2012.
You will be able to see this exhibition in the ‘Freshwater Gallery’, the ‘Old Library Gallery’ and in the ‘Cameron Tearoom’.
Image: Ken Russell Copyright Larry Ellis.
A look back at his early work….
In the 50′s as a freelance photographer Ken Russell, captured the great eccentrics of his youth for posterity in photographs which remained unseen for 50 years.
This exhibition gives a glimpse of his impressive photographic talent and is a priceless social record of attitudes, style and circumstances.
Perhaps better known for his pioneering work in television/film and for his controversial style, Ken Russell born in Southampton, on 3 July 1927 tried several careers: stills photographer; a dancer and the Royal Air Force and Merchant Navy, before ‘making it’ in the film industry.
As a photographer between 1954-1957 Russell operated within the tradition of low-key British documentary photography and is the only photographer of note to have captured fledgling youth culture in London, in a series he called The Last of the Teddy Girls.
Russell’s photographs remained unseen for 50 years.
The agency Russell worked for, Pictorial Press, was taken over by TopFoto in the late 1970s, but Russell’s archive was not discovered until 2005. The following year his house in Lymington burned down, but safe in TopFoto’s vaults, the original photographs survived.
Russell’s photographs are fascinating as artefacts from a particularly austere period in postwar Britain. They hint at, rather than anticipate, his later career. He calls them “still films” and acknowledges that they taught him the value of composition. Even then, though, he was a rule-breaker.
Looking now at the often restrained atmosphere Russell’s photographs exude, it’s hard to believe they are a product of the same feverish imagination that created The Devils and Tommy. I have to say I prefer Ken Russell the quiet photographer, although the world of postwar British cinema would have been an immeasurably more mundane place without the louder, more outrageous director. Sean O’Hagan The Observer, Sunday 14 March 2010. Source
Some Links Ken Russell Had Formed With The Isle of Wight
Long before he gained a burst of brief late notoriety by joining – and storming out of – the 2007 Celebrity Big Brother house. Henry Kenneth Alfred “Ken” Russell built up links with the Isle of Wight.
Ken Russell made a landmark television documentary about Elgar in 1962 some of which was filmed in Ventnor and other parts of the Island. In the TV drama Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by Ken Russell for the BBC in 1992, the Isle of Wight doubled for the South of France. Source: Link
The Old Park Hotel at St. Lawrence was the location for the beach and woodland walk scenes and aviary scenes were shot at the Tropical Bird Park.
Mandalay scenes, were filmed at the maze at Blackgang Chine, and Lisle Combe, the house at the Rare Breeds Park at St. Lawrence.
Havenstreet Station, part of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway was featured in the final episode when Lady Chatterley returns home from France.
The Red Funnel ferry, doubled as a transatlantic cruise liner sailing from Southampton. Ken Russell was able to make the ferry look like a liner – and not like a ferry full of passengers on a normal crossing to the Isle of Wight.
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