George Douglas

TopFoto Archive


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.

1364205: George Douglas – self portrait

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.

1373371: Audrey Hepburn on a 1952 visit to New York, USA where she was starring in Gigi on Broadway, New York 1952. She is at the top of the Rockerfeller Tower on the viewing platform overlooking the Manhattan skyline.

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.

PD0055887: Selection of prints and ephemera, George Douglas Archive (Paul Gallico, letter from Paul Gallico to the photographer, letter from Heinemann to the photographer, plus George Douglas’ USA ration book and stamps from WW2, and PicturePost with a George Douglas image on the front cover

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

PD1452181: George Douglas Photography business card – 1046 Seventh Street , Santa Monica , California

TopFoto owns the George Douglas collection with all rights – exclusive licensing rights.

See a selection of his images here

See everything we’ve scanned of George Douglas here



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