Working mostly with black and white film, Childers has captured the icons and legends of popular culture and the art world. His stunning portraits include Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Clint Eastwood, Catherine Deneuve, Rock Hudson, and Carol Channing. Several portraits are of special importance because they were taken early in the actors’ careers, before they became celebrities: Sissy Spacek, Demi Moore, Mel Gibson, John Travolta, Richard Gere, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Equally important are portraits of the great film industry legends who helped establish and build the stars’ careers, including film directors Billy Wilder and John Schlesinger and costume designer Edith Head.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Since the 1960s, Michael Childers has been photographing famous people within the broad genre of portraiture. His long connection to the world of celebrity has given him access to many iconic film stars, artists, actors, and writers of our time—particularly those who make up the creative culture of Southern California and with ties to Palm Springs. His subjects have included Andy Warhol, David Hockney, E. Stewart Williams, Sissy Spacek, Demi Moore, Ringo Starr, and numerous others.
Childers began his photography career by studying with Robert Heineken and Edmund Teske. He created the mixed media work for the record-breaking run of the hit off-Broadway musical “Oh! Calcutta!” for Kenneth Tynan in New York. Tynan subsequently invited Michael to work for Sir Laurence Olivier’s National Theatre in London, and he remains the only American photographer invited to photograph productions at this prestigious institution.
He went on to become a founding photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview and After Dark magazines. For Dance magazine, he produced many covers including those featuring the Joffrey Ballet, the Royal Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company. From his Melrose Avenue and Venice studios, Childers photographed more than 200 magazine covers, including GQ, New York, TV Guide, Esquire, Los Angeles, Elle, Paris Match, Life, London Sunday Times Magazine, and both English and Italian Vogue. He created more than 150 album covers and film posters for major motion picture studios and worked as a special photographer on dozens of films. In 2003, Palm Springs Art Museum presented a forty-year retrospective of Michael’s work titled Icons and Legends: The Photography of Michael Childers.