David Hamilton was a British photographer who hailed from London. His schooling was irregular due to World War II. As an evacuee, he spent time in the countryside of Dorset, which stirred his work. After the end of the war, Hamilton returned to London and completed school before moving to France, where he has lived ever since.
His artistic skills began to develop as he was employed at an architect’s office. At age 20, he relocated to Paris, where he worked as a graphic designer for Peter Knapp of ELLE magazine. After becoming known and efficacious, he was hired away from Elle by Queen magazine in London as an art director. Hamilton shortly returned to Paris and there became the art director of Printemps, the city’s major department store. Hamilton began taking pictures commercially while still working, and the dreamy, grainy style of his images swiftly brought him success.
His photographs were in high demand by other magazines such as Realities, Twen, and Photo. By the late 1960s, Hamilton’s work had a familiar style. His further accomplishment included many dozens of photographic books with combined sales well into the millions, five feature films, countless magazine publishing, and scores of museum and gallery displays.
As much of Hamilton’s work portrays early-teen girls, often bare, he has been the subject of some controversy and allegations. Hamilton’s photographs have long been at the vanguard of the “is it art or pornography?” debate.