Douglas Kirkland, who was born in Toronto, Canada, spent much of his early professional life working in New York, before relocating to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s. Kirklands career started quickly when he joined Look Magazine in his early twenties, and later Life during the golden age of 60s/70s photo journalism. Among his assignments were essays on Greece and Lebanon as well as fashion and celebrity work, photographing Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich among others.
Through the years, Douglas Kirkland has worked on the sets of over one hundred motion pictures. Among them, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 2001, True Lies, Out of Africa, and most recently Titanic. A book of Kirkland's celebrity work, Light Years was published by Thames and Hudson in 1989 followed by ICONS, Creativity with Camera and Computer, by Collins San Francisco in 1993. Some of the subjects interpreted in ICONS were Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Kim Basinger, Sean Connery, Robert DeNiro and Dr. Stephen Hawking. In 1997 Kirkland has had four new books published, two in Italy from Mondadori; Legends and Body Stories, plus James Cameron's Titanic, Harper Collins USA, and Woza Africa, for the International Red Cross, Geneva. Douglas Kirkland is known for his commercial photography as well as fine arts work and continues to be widely exhibited through Asia, Europe and the United States.
Within the last few years, he has lectured at: The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., The American Film Institute in Hawaii and Los Angeles, The Art Center of Design in Pasadena as well as Kodak Centers in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. In the autumn of 1995 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American motion pictures S.O.C. (Society of Operating Cameramen).
In Italy, the city of Verona hung a highly successful retrospective with 235 pieces of Kirklands work, at the Scavi Scaligeri. This show ran from the beginning of October 1997 through the end of January 1998. On January 25,1998, James Camerons Titanic became #1 on the New York Times paperback Best Sellers List, the first time ever for a picture book.