Neil Libbert: Photojournalist

In recent months it has been a great pleasure to work with Neil Libbert in preparation for the first solo display of his photographs, which will open at the National Portrait Gallery (Room 32) on 17 September 2012.

The display of ten key portraits from 1958-1984, many of which will be shown for the first time, will celebrate his fifty-five year career as a photojournalist. Portraits on display will include of a young Helen Mirren (1969) taken inside her flat at a time when she was playing Cressida in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Troilus and Cressida, and studies of Kingsley Amis, Francis Bacon, Edward Burra, George Best, Patrick Lichfield, and Harold Pinter.

Born in Salford, Libbert studied at the Regional College of Art in Manchester before starting to work as a photographer and opening his own studio in the city in 1957. He joined the staff of the Manchester Guardian, and moved to the paper’s London office in 1961. Libbert stayed with the Guardian until 1965 before working under contract to The Sunday Times, the New York Times, Granada TV and the Illustrated London News until 1968 when he again became a freelance photographer. He still regularly covers performing arts photography for the Observer.

Libbert has made his enduring reputation through street photography and reportage. Acclaimed photojournalism includes his coverage of the homeless, and his coverage of the Brixton riots in 1981. In 1999 he was Nikon News Photographer of the Year and his exclusive coverage of the bombings in The Admiral Duncan pub, Soho was recognised by a World Press Photo Award.

Sir Winston Churchill with Sir Charles Wheeler at Burlington House for the annual banquet of the Royal Academy. Photograph: Neil Libbert

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *