Cultural Life: Terry O'Neill, Photographer

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The Independent Culture

Visual arts

Obviously, I go to photography exhibitions. London Through a Lens at Getty Images Gallery is a collection from Getty Images' Hulton archive. I've got a picture there of David Bowie with a dog. I was shooting the Diamond Dogs album cover. There are loads of photographers in the exhibition. I saw Lichfield at Chris Beetles Art Gallery in summer. It was very entertaining. Patrick is a good friend, so I can't say anything untoward. It was a good comprehensive selection of his work.


I felt The Dark Knight was too long. It spoilt the entertainment. Heath Ledger and Michael Caine were interesting, but outside that it wasn't great. I hardly go to the pictures now. They don't really make good films any more. There aren't really any great stars, not like Paul Newman, John Wayne, Lee Marvin and Robert Mitchum.


I'm reading Typhoon by Charles Cumming, who is the new John Le Carré. I love spy thrillers. I just finished The Company by Robert Littell, about the history of the CIA – probably the best spy book I've ever read. Don't ask me why I like spy books. I have no idea.


I love the sport. Sport is made for TV. The football, the cricket. I watched all the Olympics. I watch everything. There is no need to go out. It surpasses the cinema. I watched the BBC's Britain From Above, which was fascinating.


I'm a big jazz fan. I've been listening to Scott Hamilton and Harry Allen, two modern jazz pianists who play like the greats. The last CDs I bought were the Stan Getz Quartet with Lou Levy, Complete Studio Master Takes; an old CD of Count Basie with Zoot Sims; Gene Harris with Scott Hamilton on At Last; and the Scott Hamilton Quartet live in London.

The Nelson Mandela 'I Am 90' exhibition at the Royal Albert Hall, London SW7 (, to 28 September, includes some of Terry O'Neill's photographs