First Acts

Director Ken Russell to Show Early Unseen Photography

Long before Ken Russell became famous as the director of 1969’s Women in Love, he worked as a photographer. A selection of the 82-year-old Russell’s work—which he calls “still films” featuring private eyes and unrelenting women—will inaugurate the new Lucy Bell Gallery of Photography in England. “I used to wander the streets around Notting Hill, where I lived, until something caught my eye,” Russell told The Guardian. His earliest portraits of his dancer friends hint towards the surrealist nature of his films. “I wanted to be a fashion photographer but it was too early for my kind of style… I’d spend hours exploring all the possibilities in a series of absolutely unbankable photographs,” he explained of the images that have not been seen for 50 years.