Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL At The ATLAS Gallery, London, UK

published in: Exhibitions, Photography By Tina Komninou, 11 October 2012

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Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen in black Jaguar at studio, CA, 1963
photo ©
John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Londoners are truly lucky to be hosting one of the hottest current exhibitions at the ATLAS Gallery in 49 Dorset Street untill 27 October 2012 . What can we say about one of the most sought after photographers of the 50’s & 60’s spending 3 weeks with the ‘King of Cool’? He was the man in every woman’s fantasy and as a result, 40 rolls of film were produced. The photographer is none other then John Dominis and his subject is every woman's ideal man… Steve McQueen.

John Dominis, now 91 has always lived the kind of life that makes us want to sit down and hear him speak indefinitely about his experiences. Working as a freelance photographer for LIFE magazine, he covered John Kennedy's ‘I am a Berliner’ speech, Woodstock, the Vietnam war, Nixon’s trip to China, six Olympic games, the celebration of Buddha’s 2500th birthday and has photographed renowned entertainers such as Frank Sinatra, Robert Redford, John Wayne and many more. Now living in New York City, he has allowed us to share one of his ‘career-favorite assignments’. Being the shadow of the 33 year old in his Palm Springs home known for his strong passion for speed, he is also known for his expert ability to handle a gun and an even greater ability in making women drop on their knees, definitely wasn’t dull.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Installation view, ATLAS Gallery
photo © ATLAS Gallery

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen aims a pistol in his living room, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen was the sexiest and most sought after rebel in Hollywood. When this collaboration started he was on the brink of superstardom, already popular from his big-screen break out as one of the Magnificent Seven he was a couple of months away from the international acclaim release of ‘The Great Escape’. Having been abandoned as a child and spending most of his youth in a reform school for juvenile delinquents there was always a dark fascination about his private life leading to his bad boy image. Yes he was the bad boy that every woman wanted to bring home and tame and all men wanted to drink his cool aid.

Being able to capture Wyatt Earp, the greatest Western character of all time, his excitement about this character at the time was the opportunity for an on screen ‘pistols at dawn’ showdown.  Together with his then wife Neile Adams, they allowed Dominis to enter their lives in a very open way. No restrictions or closed doors - then it was all about the rawness of the legendary rebel having nothing to hide. This is what made him absolutely and totally desirable. His image was a man with no inhibitions that did not care about how he is perceived and that itself made him so much more manly.

Undoubtedly Steve McQueen was and is a man like no other. His genuine charisma has been captured on camera and has made us fall in love with him all over again. The Coolness of this King has left us wanting more.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen swinging from rope in his gym, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen and his wide, Neile Adams, at home, Holywood, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen and his wide, Neile Adams, is sulphur bath, Big Sur, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen after motorcycle race, Mojave Desert, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen sleeping in the back of his pick up truck, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Steve McQueen smoking while talking on the phone, CA, 1963
photo © John Dominis / Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Steve McQueen: KING OF COOL
Installation view, ATLAS Gallery
photo © ATLAS Gallery

sources:

ATLAS Gallery

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