Home Photography Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson

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Alan Davidson spent fifty years playfully documenting celebs and exclusive events. Explore a retrospective of his career in this celebration of his life.

Alan Davidson was the master picture-taker behind a number of iconic images, from Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger dancing to a teenage Lady Diana Spencer. For fifty years he photographed some of the world’s most prolific people and memorialized countless historical moments.

This pioneering newspaper photographer and Shutterstock Editorial contributor passed away last week at the age of seventy. Today, we honor his contributions to the creative industry of editorial photography.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Alan Davidson

Photo by Nick Harvey/Shutterstock (8254571af). Alan Davidson at ‘Tim Noble and Sue Webster: Sticks with Dicks and Slits” private view, London, UK. 02 Feb 2017.

Whether behind the camera or in front of it, those who knew him—like his employer of fifty years, the UK tabloid The Daily Mail—described him as “always in the thick of action.” Alan, who was born in Leeds in 1949, left school at age fifteen to work on London’s famed Fleet Street as a messenger.

During his spare time taking pictures of London, he soon discovered his natural ability for capturing famous people. He got his big break after a picture he took of actress Rachel Roberts made the front page of the Daily Sketch on the day her husband Rex Harrison announced the breakup of their marriage. He then briefly worked at the Maidenhead Advertiser before landing his role at The Daily Mail.

What followed was fifty years of photographing the famous and infamous under one theme: capturing them at play. In celebration of his life and contribution to the world of celebrity photography, we’ve put together seven of his most famous pictures—one for each decade of his life. One of his most famous (and favorite) pictures was one he captured of a teenage Lady Diana Spencer in 1980, who was two months into a relationship with Prince Charles. He caught the image through a limo window as she left the 50th birthday party of Princess Margaret at the Ritz (see featured image).

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Sylvester Stallone

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7544859f). Private photocall with Sylvester Stallone at the Dorchester Hotel for the film Escape to Victory. 04 Sep 1981.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Keith Richards and Mick Jagger

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7543779ae). Keith Richards and Mick Jagger. Charlie Watts’s Jazz Band playing at Ronnie Scott’s Club, Soho. 18 Nov 1985.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Kevin Spacey with Amanda Donohoe and Prince Andrew the Duke of York

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7526251ba). Party at Old Billingsgate Market following a benefit performance to raise funds for the Old Vic Theatre. Kevin Spacey with Amanda Donohoe and Prince Andrew the Duke of York. 05 Feb 2003.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Bob Geldof and Paula Yates

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7529123eu). Live Aid at Wembley Arena. Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. 13 Jul 1985.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — John Travolta

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7544714c). Photocall with John Travolta at Inn On the Park. 1981.

Photography Lost a Legend: Celebrating Alan Davidson — Stevie Wonder & Marvin Gaye

Photo by Alan Davidson/Shutterstock (7545090e). Stevie Wonder & Marvin Gaye at Stringfellows where they performed a late night set, finishing at 5 AM. 19 June 1981.

We are honored to have some of Alan’s incredible images on Shutterstock Editorial as we say goodbye to this incredible artist. Alan’s work inspired people around the world, and we are humbled to have worked with him in any capacity during his time in the creative world.


For more work from Shutterstock Editorial, check out these posts:

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