Peter Sellers: photographer

A new exhibition organised by the late actor’s family highlights the ambitions of Peter Sellers behind the camera

Peter Sellers: Behind the Camera will feature 50 photographs taken either by Sellers himself or relating to his photographic career. It has been organised by Sellers’ daughter Sarah and his granddaughter Emily, a photographic producer, and coincides with what would have been Sellers’ 90th birthday.

French singer and actor Charles Aznavour photographed on the set of the 1973 film The Blockhouse in which he co-starred with Sellers © Sellers Family
French singer and actor Charles Aznavour photographed on the set of the 1973 film The Blockhouse in which he co-starred with Sellers © Sellers Family

Although he claimed that photography was “mainly a hobby” Sellers’ involvement with photography went rather deeper than that.

Michael, Victoria and Sarah Sellers with Britt Ekland in Hyde Park, 1967 © Sellers Family
Michael, Victoria and Sarah Sellers with Britt Ekland in Hyde Park, 1967 © Sellers Family
Sellers' daughter Victoria, whose mother is Britt Ekland
Sellers’ daughter Victoria, whose mother is Britt Ekland

In 1971, the Evening Standard gave Sellers his first paid commission, asking him to photograph his co-star Sinéad Cusack on Wimbledon Common during the filming of the satire Hoffman. He subsequently had images published in the Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph magazines and, in one of his longest-lasting photographic relationships, Vogue ran 40 of his images.

Unpublished fashion shot for Vogue © Sellers Family
Unpublished fashion shot for Vogue © Sellers Family
Peter Sellers, shot by Adrian Flowers for an Olympus ad campaign in 1973. The original ad ran with the copyline "No prizes for guessing the name". © Adrian Flowers
Peter Sellers, shot by Adrian Flowers for an Olympus ad campaign in 1973. The original ad ran with the copyline “No prizes for guessing the name”. © Adrian Flowers

In 1973 a small collection of his photographs was displayed at London’s ICA and his interest in photography was marked by an Olympus ad campaign that same year for the launch of the OM-1. He was shot for the campaign by Adrian Flowers (see above) and subsequently bought one of the cameras for his daughter Sarah. As a result, Olympus is supporting the new show.

Britt Ekland on her horse, Steptoe, photographed at the family home in Surrey, 1966 © Sellers Family
Britt Ekland on her horse, Steptoe, photographed at the family home in Surrey, 1966 © Sellers Family

Peter Sellers: Behind the Camera is at 19 Beauchamp Place, London Sw3 1NQ, from October 26 until 31. Proceeds from sales of a catalogue and limited edition, framed prints will go to the British Heart Foundation. Image shown top: Britt Ekland and her daughter Victoria Sellers © Sellers Family

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