The Story Behind the Photograph

The Story Behind the Photograph

In 1958, aged 25, I went to New York City – in theory for 6 months. In those days, you didn’t just go back and forth across the Atlantic, so my 6 months turned into 2 years!

I had been working as a physiotherapist in London but found out in New York State, that as an immigrant, I needed to have a post-graduate degree to practice physiotherapy. So, I got a job in a Preventative Medicine Clinic.

I lived in a studio apartment in a brownstone house, between 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue. On the same floor there was another Brit – Robin Pitt Miller – and, on the ground floor, Norman Parkinson, the renowned photographer.

Parkinson had an assignment for a travel magazine called ‘Go’ to inform people that a young couple could now afford to come to America for a holiday. He had no professional models available, so ‘Parkes’ asked Robin and me to be the couple.

We were meant to go out on a Sunday to six different locations, but it started to pour with rain. So, on Monday, in my lunch hour, we all went to the Brooklyn Bridge and this photograph is the result!

I had the time of my life in America, and I hope one day you will have the same!

Pippa Diggle

Image Credit: Norman Parkinson / Iconic Images Gallery

Side Note:

Norman Parkinson CBE (21 April 1913 – 15 February 1990) was an English portrait and fashion photographer. His work revolutionised British fashion photography, as he moved his subjects out of the studio and used outdoor settings. While serving as a Royal Air Force photographer in World War II, he started with Vogue magazine, discovering several famous models. He became an official royal photographer in 1969, taking photographs for Princess Anne’s 19th birthday and the Investiture portrait of Charles III as Prince of Wales. Many other royal portraits included official portraits of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for her 75th birthday. He was known for using elements of humour in his photographs. Parkinson received many honours during his life including the Royal Photographic Society’s Progress Medal, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Magazine Photographers, a Google Doodle, and a British postage stamp.