George Douglas photographed for four decades, from the 1940s to the 1970s. With the nickname “Speedy George” he astonished picture editors with his relentless work rate.
George Douglas was British but during a trip to America he sold his first photographs to the Los Angeles Times in the 1940s and then moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, in 1948, where he was in charge of photography for the Sun Valley News Bureau, taking pictures of famous visitors including Gary Cooper and President Harry Truman. In 1949 he moved back to Los Angeles and began his career as a celebrity photographer with a series of pictures of Angela Lansbury and her fiancée Peter Shaw for Life magazine.
When he returned to London he began submitting images to Picture Post magazine, “I knew this was the future and I wanted to work with people who were making it happen,” he wrote.
He became a remarkable documentary stylist, who could turn his hand to anything and amassed a vast portfolio of diverse pictures. George noted in his diaries that he covered 99 picture features for Picture Post alone in the 1950s, but he always had other jobs on as well.
Grace Robertson, a photographer who also worked at Picture Post, remarked on his “wide-ranging talent, which meant he satisfied magazines as different in style and content as the story-telling Picture Post, the popular TV Mirror and the women’s magazines wanting the glamorous, iconic images of 1940s Hollywood”.
The photojournalist Thurston Hopkins, who worked with Douglas on Picture Post magazine in the 1950s, recalled: “Speedy George beat me to Picture Post by almost a year and by the time I joined the magazine he was one of its busiest freelances, with a reputation for bringing in a tricky story almost before Harry Deverson, the fatherly picture editor, had a chance to complete his briefing. He was in and out of the office, a man possessed with his work, and with little time to spare for chatting over coffee. His total of published assignments was awe-inspiring.”
George Douglas was born 8 March 1922 and died 28 December 2010
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