Photos of gay icons bought by National Portrait Gallery

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Four portraits by acclaimed gay photographer David Gwinnutt have been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Mr Gwinnutt, who has photographed many well-known gay celebrities, said he was honoured that his work will become part of the national collection of portraiture.

The portraits of film director John Schlesinger, playwright Neil Bartlett, performance artist and club legend Leigh Bowery and photographer Corinne Day are candid and intimate.

Terrence Pepper, curator of photographs at The NPG, said,

“We are delighted to have four more photographs by David Gwinnutt in the Photographs Collection.

“Atmospheric and evocative, Gwinnutt’s high-contrast black and white, strikingly composed photographs evoke very well the era in which they were taken.

“Anti-glamorous and un-staged, they reveal an intimacy with his sitters, allowing the viewer to feel they are seeing the ‘real’ person in the picture.”

Mr Gwinnutt also designed The Pink Jack, a gay version of the Union Jack often seen at Pride events in the UK.

He told

“It’s an honour to have my portraits recognised in this way, especially when I think of some of the events that surrounded them.

“John Schlesinger turned me away from his door saying I’d made him look fat. I was crestfallen. I thought he looked statuesque!”

The subjects were all photographed in their homes, apart from Day, who was photographed in hospital after her well documented brain operation in the 1990s.

The portrait of Corinne Day will be on display at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martins Place, London, from next month.

The other portraits by can be viewed on the Portrait Explorer IT resource, which is available in the IT gallery at the NPG.