Dispatches: Douglas Kirkland


I’ve spent the bulk of my adult life in photography. Granted the last five years have been fringe, but prior to that I was stuck right smack dab in the middle of it. Over my life I’ve encountered a range of people I found inspiring, humble, giving, interesting, driven or obsessed. On vary rare occasions I’ve met someone who exemplifies ALL of these traits. One such occasion is Douglas Kirkland. If you know of Kirkland then I need not explain. If you don’t know about Kirkland then you must stop what you are doing and read his bio. You have to read it because I’m not going to read it to you. He has simply done too much. The interview you will hear below covers many things but only begins to scratch the surface of who this man really is and what this man has really done. Each question I asked opened up a potential deluge of follow ups. One interview just isn’t enough. And as you will hear, our interview begins with strange happenings and sounds, all left in to add to the ambiance, as well as my mispronunciation of “Francoise” Kirkland’s name.(I think I mispronounced it three times actually.) Sorry Francoise! This boy from Indiana finally has it worked out. To sit with Douglas was a honor, and for this I say “Thank you.”


12 Comments on “Dispatches: Douglas Kirkland”

  1. Great interview but you excelled with the images.
    The backlit portrait is superb.

    Footnote……….DK kept stressing the importance of words and story. Generally when I go to a Art Gallery and read the curators synopsis I feel a total disconnect. Its as if a ‘art’ buzzword generator was used. Do you have any suggested reading for a bloke who just wants to let the images stand alone?

  2. Although I am not really a landscape photographer I somehow got a copy of Frank Gohlke’s book “Thoughts on Landscape.” I ended up really loving it and I think he has some of the clearest most down to earth artist statements in it. So, if you are looking for some examples I would highly recommend reading this book. I think his approach to artist statements is totally liberating and entirely free of art buzzword generator jargon. Now I do have to warn you that I recommend it to a friend and their reaction was kinda ho-hum. But from your question and evident frustration I would guess that you will like it.

  3. I literally just read and flipped through my copy of ‘ A Life in Pictures’ last night and then happened by your site to hear this. I really enjoyed this interview. Very motivating to hear how much passion he still has for his work and photography in general. Glad you two got the time to get this!

    All the best to you and Douglas.

  4. Douglas is reading through this wants to thank you for everything! But he is noting that you have his name listed with two s’s in the last line… 🙂

  5. Great interview!!!
    I discovered the name Douglas Kirkland in Look magazine- sitting inside my grade school library. His work opened the door for a lifelong passion for photography. I’m a proud collector of his work and it’s been a privilege meeting both Douglas and his beautiful wife, Francoise. Love listening to him talk and learn something new each and every time.
    Thanks again!!!

    1. Thanks Eddie. Glad you enjoyed. They don’t make them like DK anymore. They should, but they don’t.

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