David Hamilton

David Hamilton

Birth
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, Greater London, England
Death 25 Nov 2016 (aged 83)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Burial Details Unknown, Specifically: Burial unknown
Memorial ID 190750131 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Controversial British photographer and filmmaker who was celebrated as an artist and condemned as a perverse child pornographer and child rapist. David Hamilton was born in 1933, grew up in wartime London and spent some time as a child evacuee in Dorset. At age 20, he moved to Paris to work as a graphic designer for Elle magazine. He later became art director at the Printemps Department Store. Hamilton was known for his trademark erotic images of pubescent girls. He had a signature soft-focus style that was called the "Hamilton Blur", which he achieved by smearing Vaseline onto the lens of his 35 mm Minolta camera or by fogging the lens with his breath. Hamilton used Ektachrome 200 ASA film (black and white and well as color) with natural light and a single lens set at wide-open aperture; he photographed his models long before the advent of digital cameras. Hamilton had an inherent fascination with young girls and used photography and cinema to depict the intrinsic eroticism of adolescents. At the start of his career, Hamilton was inspired by Jean Shrimpton, Celia Hammond and Twiggy, who were the leading professional models of that era. In a long career that spanned film and still photography, fashion, and portraiture, Hamilton became internationally known for his ethereal and diaphanous images of blonde, blue-eyed girls on the cusp of womanhood. His romantic images of nude underage girls became part of an "art or pornography" debate, but Hamilton's themes legally fell under the classification of eroticism and not pornography, similar to the work of Jock Sturges and Sally Mann. Balthus painted the girls, Vladimir Nabokov wrote about the girls in his novel "Lolita", and Hamilton photographed the girls in still images and cinema. His genre of beautiful amateur teenagers bore a striking resemblance to the West German Schulmadchen (Schoolgirl) Report films, a series of 13 softcore movies that were directed and produced by Ernst Hofbauer, Walter Boos, Wolf C. Hartwig and Ludwig Spitaler–the four titans of teen libido–in Munich in the early 1970s. Hamilton published his images in photobooks. Some of his most famous books were Dreams of a Young Girl, Sisters, Twenty Five Years of an Artist, and The Age of Innocence. His images would go on to be featured in magazines such as Playboy, Réalités, Twen, Oui, and Photo. Hamilton was also a film director; he released Bilitis, Laura, and Tender Cousins. Mona Kristensen, Patti D'Arbanville, Rachel Hunter, Paulina Porizkova, Lolita, Mandy, and Heidi were some of his better-known models. In December 1977, Images Gallery at 11 East 57th Street in Manhattan showed his photographs at the same time that Bilits ran in theatres. Hamilton had a long-standing personal relationship with Kristensen, who he had met in 1969 at the Canary Islands; she used the surname Hamilton professionally when she worked with him. Mona was Hamilton's long-time girlfriend but they were never married because she wanted to have children and he did not. He later married and divorced Gertrude Versyp, a woman more than 30 years his junior who was one of his models and a designer of The Age of Innocence. In 2016, French radio and television presenter Flavie Flament came forward and publicly accused Hamilton of being a pedophile and sexually assaulting her 29 years earlier in 1987; Hamilton's photo of Flament had appeared on the cover of her autobiographical novel, La consolation. Flavie described the first incident, which occurred in his Cap d'Agde flat: “He raped me in the shower. I had just turned 13. I wasn’t yet formed — I didn’t have breasts. I was still sucking my thumb.” In a second incident, Flament described how Hamilton was naked, wearing only a camera around his neck when she and her mother were greeted by him at his door; the mother then consented to leave them alone when she left for the day. The illicit sexual contact of Flament and Hamilton evoked memories of Roman Polanski and was re-enacted in the 2017 TV movie, La Consolation, which is based on the true story of Flament's novel. Actress Lou Gable played the role of Flament, and Phillip Schurer portrayed Hamilton (the actor was much larger in size than the real-life artist). In a very unusual twist, Flament's family took Hamilton's side and accused her of making things up and in need of treatment. Hamilton's hunting ground was the Cap d'Agde Mediterranean nudist camp in southern France; he trolled the beach during "shopping" expeditions in search of new "mouses" (female genitalia). Cap d'Agde was described as a "lawless territory"; Hamilton could have been prosecuted for such lecherous activity in the United States. Following Flament's revelations, four additional women came forward with similar complaints against Hamilton; they used assumed names and were identified as "Elodie" (Emmanuelle Anizon), "Constance", Lucie", and "Alice". The women described his modus operandi as “inappropriate caresses, the head that was suddenly between their legs, penetration, and their own sense of freezing.” Hamilton denied the charges of criminal activity and threatened legal action against his accusers, but a month after Flament went public he committed suicide by asphyxiation (a plastic bag over his head) and prescription drugs in his Paris apartment at 41 Boulevard Montparnasse. He was 83 years old, lived alone, and had no known immediate family. Hamilton's suicide might have been linked to the belated multiple accusations of child rape, child pornography, and pedophilia that were levelled against him very shortly before his death. Few accusations bear as much devastating social impact as the aforementioned wanton sexual exploitation of minors. Upon learning of Hamilton's suicide, Flament commented, “By his cowardice, (Hamilton) condemns us again to silence and the inability to see him convicted. The horror of this news will never wipe out that of our sleepless nights." David Hamilton could not have been prosecuted in a French criminal court of law because the twenty-year statute of limitations had expired. The case renewed calls to extend or even eliminate the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children. David Hamilton was presumed innocent until conviction at trial. He took the secret of what happened with the models to his grave, and the alleged victims are the only people who know exactly what happened.


Advertisement

See more Hamilton memorials in:

Advertisement

Advertisement

  • Created by: Loren
  • Added: 20 Jun 2018
  • Find A Grave Memorial 190750131
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for David Hamilton (15 Apr 1933–25 Nov 2016), Find A Grave Memorial no. 190750131, ; Maintained by Loren (contributor 45426922) Burial Details Unknown, who reports a Burial unknown.