Alice and Peter photographed beautiful women for over sixty years. In fact, if there is a “Father of Glamour Photography” in America, Peter Gowland has that title.
While best known for beautiful “pin-ups”, they also photographed numerous celebrities over the years. Among them, Jane Russel, Jonathan Winters, Muhammad Ali, and Raquel Welch. In addition, the Gowland team sold over 1000 magazine covers and photographed for playboy and countless advertising campaigns. With their expertise, the two have written over 35 books and guides related to portrait and glamour photography.
Discontent with the cameras available, Peter branched out. He has invented and sold 21 different kinds of cameras, the most popular being the Gowlandflex twin lens 4 x 5 still used by many professionals.
Peter was born into the Hollywood life, the son of English character actor Gibson Gowland and screenwriter Sylvia Andrew. As a young man he spent many years on the sets working as an extra and a dancer. It was there that he first observed glamour lighting, which was the foundation for his future career.
From 1942-1945, Peter worked as an engineering cinematographer for North American Aviation, while he and Alice spent evenings and weekends taking portraits and speculative advertising photographs. In 1945 he was shipped to Germany with the Air Force, where he was in charge of the photo lab at Furstenfeldbruck. It was during this time, between 1942 and 1946, that the war years were taken. During WWII, because pinups became popular with armed forces, Alice sold some of their beach pin-ups as magazine covers while Peter was in the service.
After he was discharged in 1946, Peter and Alice built their first studio home in West LA. In 1954 the couple moved into their current Rustic Canyon home, designed by W. F. Overpeck, and remains there to this day. The local “State Beach” became their perennial stomping ground. In its day, State Beach was a vibrant gathering place teaming with life. They made many dear friends, and the photographs they took, from the mid-40s through the late-70s, bring to life the excitement and camaraderie of a time gone by.