Nisha Rathode (Editor)

David Hamilton (photographer)

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Name  David Hamilton

Role  Photographer
David Hamilton (photographer) inside a room wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt while holding a magazine

Books  Twenty Five Years of an Artist, The Age of Innocence
Ex-spouse  Mona Kristensen, Gertrude Hamilton
Movies  Bilitis, Tendres cousines, A Summer in St Tropez, Croupier, Hildegard Knef und ihre Lieder

Similar  Helmut Newton, Robert Mapplethorpe, Annie Leibovitz

David hamilton photographer found dead amid allegations of child rape

David Hamilton (15 April 1933 – 25 November 2016) was a British photographer and film director best known for his nude images of young women and girls.


David Hamilton (photographer) wearing a shirt, a suit, a pair of eyeglasses, a tie, and a hat (a black and white photo)

David hamilton i photographer david hamilton found dead in paris

Early life

David Hamilton (photographer) wearing a white striped shirt, a gray suit, a pair of eyeglasses, and a brown hat

Hamilton grew up in London. His schooling was interrupted by World War II. As an evacuee, he spent some time in the countryside of Dorset, which inspired some of his work. After the war, Hamilton returned to London and finished his schooling.

Career and later life

David Hamilton (photographer) wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt, a brown suit, and a pair of eyeglasses while sitting

His artistic skills began to emerge during a job at an architect's office. At age 20, he went to Paris, where he worked as graphic designer for Peter Knapp of Elle magazine. After becoming known and successful, he was hired away from Elle by Queen magazine in London as art director. Hamilton soon realised his love for Paris, however, and after returning there became the art director of Printemps, the city's largest department store. Hamilton began photographing commercially while still employed, and the dreamy, grainy style of his images quickly brought him success.

David Hamilton (photographer) wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt, a suit, a pair of eyeglasses, and a tie

His photographs were in demand by other magazines such as Réalités, Twen and Photo. By the end of the 1960s, Hamilton's work had a recognisable style. His further success included many dozens of photographic books with combined sales well into the millions, five feature films, countless magazine publishings and museum and gallery exhibitions. In December 1977, Images Gallery in Manhattan showed his photographs, at the same time that Bilitis was released. At that time art critic Gene Thornton wrote in The New York Times that they reveal "the kind of ideal that regularly was expressed in the great paintings of the past". Hamilton has said that his work looks for "the candor of a lost paradise". In his book Contemporary Photographers curator Christian Caujolle wrote that Hamilton worked only with two fixed devices: "a clear pictorial intention and a latent eroticism, ostensibly romantic, but asking for trouble". In 1995 Hamilton said that people "have made contradiction of nudity and purity, sensuality and innocence, grace and spontaneity. I try to harmonize them, and that's my secret and the reason for my success". Besides his main theme of depicting young women Hamilton made pictures of flowers, men, landscapes, farm animals, pigeons and photographic still lifes of fresh fruits. Several of his photographs look like oil paintings. Most of his work gives an impression of timelessness because of the absence of cars, modern buildings and advertisement boards. In 1976 Denise Couttès explained Hamilton's phenomenal success on page 6 of The Best of David Hamilton. She wrote that his images expressed "escapism. People can only escape from the violence and cruelty of the modern world through dreams and nostalgia".

Young Woman with a Hat, 1975 photographed by David Hamilton

His soft focus style came back into fashion at Vogue, Elle and other fashion magazines from around 2003. Hamilton was in a relationship with Mona Kristensen, who was a model in many of his early photobooks and made her screen debut in Bilitis. Later he married Gertrude, who co-designed his book The Age of Innocence. But they divorced amicably.

Hamilton divided his time between Saint-Tropez and Paris. Since 2005 he had been enjoying a revival in popularity. In 2006 two new books were published: David Hamilton, a collection of captioned photographs, and Erotic Tales, which contains Hamilton's fictional short stories.

The last project that David Hamilton was working on was a book, Monography of Montenegro. As of 2017 the book is about to be realised. He was working with his first and last assistant of photography, Jelica Bujic.


Much of Hamilton's work depicted early-teen girls, often nude, and he was the subject of some controversy including child pornography allegations, similar to those which the work of Sally Mann and Jock Sturges have attracted. For moral reasons, several of Hamilton's books were banned in South Africa.

In the late 1990s, conservative Christian groups in America unsuccessfully protested against bookstores that stocked Hamilton's photography books. As Chris Warmoll, writing for The Guardian in 2005, commented "Hamilton's photographs have long been at the forefront of the 'is it art or pornography?' debate."

In 2005, a man in the UK was convicted for being in possession of 19,000 images of children, including photos by Hamilton. The images were found to be in the lowest indecency rating. In response, Glenn Holland, Hamilton's spokesman, said: "We are deeply saddened and disappointed by this, as David is one of the most successful art photographers the world has ever known. His books have sold millions".

In 2010, a man was convicted of level 1 child pornography for owning four books, including Hamilton's The Age of Innocence as well as Still Time by Sally Mann, which he purchased from a bookstore in Walthamstow, London. His conviction was overturned on appeal in 2011, with the judge calling his conviction "very unfair" and criticising the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for prosecuting him. The judge concluded that "If the [CPS] wishes to test whether the pictures in the books are indecent, the right way to deal with the matter is by way of prosecuting the publisher or retailer – not the individual purchaser."

Sexual assault allegations

On 22 October 2016, Thierry Ardisson, the host of the French talk-show Salut les Terriens! on TNT C8 channel, named Hamilton as the alleged rapist of now radio RTL presenter Flavie Flament. According to Flament, the acts were committed when she was 13 years old, in Cap d'Agde, a naturist resort in Hérault, Southern France. She mentions them in her novel La consolation, a romanticized story based on her alleged life experiences. Flament's brother has called certain revelations in her book into question. On 22 November 2016, Hamilton issued a statement threatening legal action against his accusers. When contacted by the French press agency AFP, Hamilton declared that he was not to blame. "I didn't do anything wrong," he affirmed, while confirming only that he took a portrait of Flament, "29 or 30 years ago". Flament put the portrait on the cover of La consolation.

On 17 November 2016, the weekly news magazine L'Obs published anonymous accounts by three other former models who claimed to have been raped by Hamilton. One day later, Flament confirmed that Hamilton was the alleged rapist whom she had not identified in her book.


On the evening of 25 November 2016 (a week after Flament's public accusation), Hamilton was found dead in his Paris apartment with a plastic bag over his head. The autopsy identified Asphyxiation as the cause of death. Suicide is the leading hypothesis in the investigation.

Photo books

  • Dreams of a Young Girl, 1971 
  • Sisters, 1972 
  • The Dance (1972)
  • Galeria Old Home (1974, Private)
  • The Best of David Hamilton (1976)
  • Private Collection (1976)
  • Bilitis (1977)
  • Souvenirs (1978)
  • The Young Girl (1978)
  • Secret Garden (1980)
  • Tender Cousins (1981)
  • Silk Wind (1982)
  • A Summer in St. Tropez (1983)
  • Jun Miho (1983)
  • Homage to Painting or Images (1984)
  • Maiko Minami (1987)
  • Venice (1989)
  • Flowers (1990)
  • Blooming Minayo: 28 September (1992)
  • Twenty Five Years of an Artist (1993)
  • The Fantasies of Girls (1994)
  • The Age of Innocence (1995)
  • Harem: Asami and Friends (1995)
  • A Place In The Sun (1996)
  • Holiday Snapshots (1999)
  • David Hamilton (2006)
  • Erotic Tales (2007)
  • Portfolios

  • Souvenirs (1974)
  • Flower Girls (1979)
  • Shadows of a Summer (1979)
  • The White Pebble (1980)
  • The Great Silver Photography (1984)
  • Films

  • Bilitis (1977)
  • Laura: Shadows of a Summer (1979)
  • Tender Cousins (1980)
  • A Summer in St. Tropez (1983)
  • First Desires (1984)
  • References

    David Hamilton (photographer) Wikipedia