Terry O’Neill


Terry O’Neill


Paul Nicklen, Ephemeral Palace, 2012, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

CHICAGO – Hilton | Asmus Contemporary today announced a specially curated exhibition of images from the archives of acclaimed National Geographic photographers, filmmakers and marine biologists Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier. “ORIGINS,” will feature works from Nicklen and Mittermeier, co-founders of leading ocean conservancy organization Sea Legacy and partners with nearly 9 million combined followers on Instagram.

There will be an opening event open to the public on Friday, August 27 at 5 p.m. at Hilton | Asmus Contemporary’s new location in the Morgan Arts Complex at 3622 S. Morgan Street. Additionally, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary will host a VIP reception and book signing during the opening week. The Morgan Arts Complex is a newly renovated building dedicated to the arts, design and film in Chicago’s burgeoning arts neighborhood of Bridgeport.

“ORIGINS” runs through Saturday, October 2.

About Paul Nicklen

From ice diving with leopard seals, studying the horizon with lions in Africa, and battling the sub-zero temperatures of the arctic, Canadian born Paul Nicklen has spent the last 20 years documenting both the beauty and the plight of our planet. As one of the world’s most prominent nature photographers, TED Talks favorite (with almost 2.5 million views), Nicklen has used his art to spotlight endangered ecosystems and ignite a global awareness of climate change. After a 20-year career of photographing for prestigious publications including numerous cover images for National Geographic, Nicklen revisited his archives for the true gems to fulfill his lifelong dream of releasing them to the art world.

Nicklen has garnered more than 30 of the highest accolades given to any photographer in his field, earning a global following of prominent individuals, conservationists, and fans. He has published more than 20 stories for National Geographic and has been the recipient of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award and the prestigious World Press Photo award for photojournalism.

In the foreword to Paul Nicklen’s book “Born to Ice”, actor and environmental activist, Leonardo DiCaprio wrote:

“To witness the Arctic and Antarctica through Paul Nicklen’s lens is to experience hope in action. “Born to Ice” showcases the life’s work of an artist whose love for the landscape and each animal in it is so palpable that emotion echoes throughout every image. As a collection, the images build in scope and power, leaving you profoundly affected and deepening your sense of commitment to protect these stunning parts of our planet.” – Leonardo DiCaprio, June 2018

Paul Nicklen, Ice Waterfall, 2014, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist and Hilton | Asmus Contemporary.

In addition, Pearl Jam’s recently released album “Gigaton” features Nicklen’s photograph Ice Waterfall on the cover. Pearl Jam management’s Scott Greer, who oversaw the album’s marketing roll-out told Variety Magazine, “The band wanted to scale something globally and create a unique fan experience so that wherever they were in the world, they were all discovering it in the same way at the same time. Everyone interacted with it differently. Some people were walking in front of the animation, and then we saw one little girl tapping on the moving waterfall. That engagement and interaction made it more than just a Pearl Jam album cover — it made it universal.”

About Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

Mexico City-born Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier, who dedicates her photography towards the conservation movement, is an adventurer, conservationist, writer, photographer and marine biologist who for the past 25 years has been globally recognized as one of the most influential wildlife writers and conservationists.

Mittermeier, a Rolex Brand Ambassador, has received accolades of the highest esteem, including the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award, and was named one of National Geographic’s 2018 Adventurers of the Year.

As a ‘National Geographic Woman of Impact’, Mittermeier has worked in more than 100 countries on every continent in the world, reaching an estimated 2.5 billion people and sparking global conversations about climate change.

Christina Mittermeier, Bubblegum, archival pigment print. Courtesy of the artist and Hilton | Asmus Contemporary

In 2015, she co-founded the conservation group Sea Legacy, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the ocean with her partner, Paul Nicklen. Recognized as one of the World’s Top 40 Most Influential Outdoor Photographers by Outdoor Magazine, Mittermeier’s work has been published in hundreds of respected publications, including National Geographic Magazine and TIME. In 2020, she was honored on the She’s Mercedes platform, where she led “Let’s Be Friends”, a mentoring session with five women from around the world to discuss their dreams, shared challenges, and self-worth.

As a biochemical engineer specializing in marine resources and as a regular contributor to the scientific dialogue on the conservation of our planet’s biodiversity, Mittermeier’s work strives to use science to explain the importance of preserving earth’s ecosystem. She is the founder of the International League of Conservation Photographers.

“The whole premise of Sea Legacy is that we’re experts at visual communication, and we’re going to be partnering with like-minded organizations that have the same mission that we do, to save the oceans.” says Mittermeier, “The ocean is the largest ecosystem on our planet, and three billion people depend on coastal and marine resources.”

Global advocate of Hilton | Asmus Contemporary founder Arica Hilton says, “We have decided to make 2021 our year of conservation. By this, I mean every single sale we make in our gallery this year will benefit a variety of conservation organizations, including organizations that support animals, oceans and other natural resources, in addition to our ongoing support of women’s and children’s causes. Through the arts, Hilton | Asmus Contemporary is dedicated to making every single step and every breath we take, have a purpose. A global purpose. A higher purpose. We will be working with artists who search for solutions addressing the plight of our environment and the human condition.”

In Memoriam: Terry O’Neill

Terry O’Neill


New York Times: By Neil Genzlinger

On an early assignment he shot a new group called the Beatles. He went on to photograph, among many others, Faye Dunaway — whom he later married.

Terry O’Neill photographing an unidentified model in the early 1970s. He photographed the grandest names of the ’60s and the decades beyond, including the Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.Credit...

Terry O’Neill, who as a novice photographer found himself shooting pictures of an up-and-coming group called the Beatles and never looked back, spending a lifetime capturing memorable images of musicians, movie stars and other celebrity gods of the age, died on Saturday at his home in London. He was 81.

Carrie Kania, creative director of Iconic Images, the London agency that represents him, said the cause was cancer.

Mr. O’Neill was the photographer of choice for a wide array of the stars of the 1960s and beyond. He photographed not only the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, but also Frank Sinatra; not only classic Hollywood actresses like Audrey Hepburn, but also more recent big-screen favorites like Nicole Kidman. Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and other prominent politicians turned up in his lens as well.

Mr. O’Neill captured Faye Dunaway the day after she won the Oscar for her performance in “Network” (1976). The two later married.

Mr. O’Neill had a way with putting famous people at ease and became friends with many of those he photographed. For a time in the 1980s he was married to Faye Dunaway, having taken one of his best-known images of her in 1977 on the morning after she won an Oscar for her performance in “Network.”
That picture — Ms. Dunaway lounging beside the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel — and the story behind it show Mr. O’Neill’s preference for the casual shot over the stiff portrait, a signature of his work. People magazine had assigned him to get a photograph of Ms. Dunaway, assuming she would win the Oscar.

“While we were doing the pictures, I said to her: ‘I’ve been to the Oscars before. If you win, they always take the same pictures of you receiving the statue in the press room,’” Mr. O’Neill told New York magazine’s website The Cut in 2015. “I knew that wasn’t the real story — the real story is the next day, when they realize suddenly they’re getting all these offers to do films, their value goes from $100,000 to $10 million, and they’re just sort of stunned. I wanted to capture that.”

Mr. O’Neill photographed the French actress Brigitte Bardot on the set of “The Legend of Frenchie King” in Spain in 1971 with the last frame on a roll of film. “I only had one crack at it and it turned out to be a stunner,” he said.

Another well-known O’Neill image was of Brigitte Bardot, captured in 1971 during an unguarded moment while she was on location in Spain, cigarette in her mouth, windblown strands of hair across her face.

“That was the last frame in a roll of 35 millimeter,” he told The Irish Examiner in 2013. “The wind blew and I took the picture.”

“I only had one crack at it,” he added, “and it turned out to be a stunner.”

Among Mr. O’Neill’s favorite subjects was Elton John; the image on the cover of his “Greatest Hits” (1974), of Mr. John in a white suit and oversize glasses, is his. Sinatra and David Bowie, two decidedly different singers, were also photographed repeatedly by Mr. O’Neill.

“I didn’t like his voice,” Mr. O’Neill confessed of Bowie in an interview last year with The Scotsman, “because I’m a jazz fan, a blues fan, and not really into that type of music. But he was a fascinating guy to work with.”

Present-day stars and celebrities, he found, were not so fascinating, lacking the magnetism and larger-than-life quality of the subjects of his photographic heyday.

“I don’t want to photograph anyone anymore,” he told The Scotsman.

“I think,” he added, “I was born at a time where I had the best of the best to shoot.”

The Beatles in the backyard of Abbey Road Studios in London in 1963. Photographing them was one of Mr. O’Neill’s earliest assignments.

Terence Patrick O’Neill was born on July 30, 1938, in London. His father, Leonard, was a foreman at a Ford plant, and his mother, Josephine, was a homemaker.

He left school at 14, and several years later, aiming to become a jazz drummer, he sought a job as a flight attendant with British Overseas Airways Corporation, the forerunner of British Airways. He hoped to try jazz clubs in New York during layovers. Instead, the airline placed him in a photography unit based at Heathrow Airport.

As he told the story later, one photograph started him on his career path. Part of his job was to take pictures of people arriving and departing. He shot one of a well-dressed napping man in a bowler hat surrounded by African chieftains in traditional regalia. The man in the hat was the politician R.A. Butler, who was home secretary at the time, and the picture found its way to the newspapers, and editors on Fleet Street took notice.

“They said, ‘You’ve got an eye’, but I had no idea,” he told The Scotsman. “I said, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing,’ but they said, ‘Just keep doing it, we’ll train you,’ and they did. They turned me into a photographer.”

“I look back at all the pictures and I can’t believe the life I’ve had,” Mr. O’Neill, seen here in 2001, said recently. “They’re all memories for me.”

He worked for The Daily Sketch, a tabloid newspaper, for a time, then struck out on his own. An early assignment was to photograph the Beatles in 1963 just as they were breaking big in England. The Stones soon called asking for his services.

He continued to photograph both groups and their individual members as they rocketed to fame. He was still photographing Paul McCartney some four decades later. Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Tom Jones, Boy George, Led Zeppelin, Joan Baez and countless other musicians also turn up in his archive.

Mr. O’Neill married the actress Vera Day in 1963; they divorced in 1981. He and Ms. Dunaway were married from 1982 to 1987. In 2001 he married Laraine Ashton, founder of a modeling agency, with whom he had had a long relationship. She survives him, as do two children from his first marriage, Sarah and Keegan; a son from his second marriage, Liam; a stepson, Claude; and three grandchildren.

In 2018 Mr. O’Neill talked to The Scotsman about his collection of millions of negatives.

“I look back at all the pictures and I can’t believe the life I’ve had,” he said. “They’re all memories for me.”