Not the man they think he is at home: Terry O’Neill unveils his definitive portrait of Elton John

The legendary photographer spans his creative partnership with Elton John in this defining retrospective...

Across a career spanning more than 50 years, Terry O’Neill has photographed the world’s most iconic stars. From the Beatles to Frank Sinatra, from David Bowie to Winston Churchill — O’Neill’s subjects tend to occupy that elusive strata of super stardom that one can’t help but feel no longer exists for the modern celebrity. Now, the legendary photographer has unveiled a definitive portrait of Elton John in coffee table book form — the result of a creative partnership which has lasted between them for over 45 years.

elton john terry o'neill

Musician and singer Elton John performing a handstand on his piano, London 1972.

elton john terry o'neill

English singer Elton John in an embroidered jacket and captain hat, circa 1985.

The pair first worked together in 1972 and embarked on a life-long collaboration, taking in excess of 5,000 photographs on stage and off. From huge stadium concerts, intimate backstage shots, recording studios, at home and at play – the photographs in this book represent the very best of this archive, with many of the images being shown here for the first time. O’Neill has also drawn on his personal relationship with Elton John to write the book’s detailed introduction and captions.

elton john terry o'neill

English singer and songwriter Elton John performs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, October 1975.

Of his latest release, O’Neill says:

“I was allowed unprecedented access to Elton’s life and work from the very beginning – in the recording studio, portrait studio, at home and at play, onstage and off. My relationship with him for more than 45 years now has been one of the most rewarding friendships in my life, and he has always been kind to me. I must have thousands of photos of the man in my archive, and when you start looking at them, it’s like witnessing the visual evolution of a superstar.”

elton john terry o'neill

Elton John posing on a bed at his home, mid 1970s

For Elton, the book offers a trip down memory lane. He says:

“Looking at Terry’s photographs is like gazing through a window at the most extraordinary and exciting moments of my life. I’m so glad he was with us throughout the madness: in his evocative and stylish photos he captured those moments as no other photographer could.”

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