a critical review of Terry O’neill

Terry O’neill
Raquel Welchraquel_welch_on_cross.jpg

voted most desired woman by playboy magazine

Portrait photographer. He began photography by applying to become an air steward to travel the world. At that point they did not have any vacancies in that department but did in the technical photographic unit. This led to him starting freelance photography at London airport.

With this image ‘Raquel Welch’ it looks like it is supposed to symbolise Jesus on the cross. She is dressed in similar ‘slave’ like clothing. I like the aesthetic of this image. The way that the lights are, it looks like fashion or model photography. Although, I don’t like that he has took a religious image and sexualised it.
Even though I am not religious I still find it offensive. Not only that but it is demoralising to women. Showing her in a sexual pose, showing her tied up and covered in oil. You could though see resemblances to Jesus as it could show her as strong just as it was with Jesus. But from my point of view the way she is posed with her legs crossed and tied up it shows her as weak and fragile. As if she was submissive in bondage. This image is contradictive and offensive to many people, and many faiths as well as beliefs. Most people that wouldn’t be offended by this image would just be sexualising her and looking at her in a sexual way. This is backed up by playboy magazine saying she is the most desired woman.



Another image from Terry O’neill
Audrey Hepburn

This is a very different image to the last. It is using natural light and is very sophisticated. I like the aesthetic of this image just as much as the previous, except I like the whole image including its meaning and what you read from it.
In this image O’neill has made Hepburn look very sophisticated but also sexy. I like the way that he has managed this but she is fully clothed. Using just the power of her beauty.
From this image I read that she is relaxed because of the way she is dressed but tense because of her body language. Usually when people cross their arms its means that they are being defensive. Although the dove symbolises peace. This image is full of contradictions.
I like the use of the depth of field. Making only her and the bird n focus, making nothing else matter but them. It means that nothing is taking focus away.
I like that this is not showing the sexuality of women and demoralising them.
I think that the light colour and not strong contrast show the delicate side of the image, making her seem more feminine without having to undress her.


When looking at O’neill nothing is similar within his work apart from they are all portrait photography. He does not stick to one type of portrait photography.
I don’t like the way that his photography is full of contradictions, that his images can both be calm and defensive or strong and submissive al at the same time.
Overall i like the aesthetics of his work. I like the way he takes the image and the surroundings and you can clearly see that he is good at what he does. I like the way that even though they are contractive you can clearly see his intentions within his images. I like the way that within his black and white images he caters for their meaning. Like for a rock and roll band he will make high contrast or when its supposed to be feminine he doesn’t make the contrast as strong. I also like that his colour images are bright and colourful but still keeping a natural aspect to them.
After looking at his work I am liking him more and more. He is soon becoming one of my favourite portrait photographers.
I am able to learn lots from his images, and take away more than i would normally looking at other photographers. The main this that i have learnt is to connect the image with the post productions. Making sure that the whole aesthetic connects with the meaning. As i have previously mentioned i like the way the he lowers or higher the contrast of the image to connect with the feeling and i will definitely be keeping this in mind for future work.


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