Peter Gowland

Peter A. Gowland (April 3, 1916 March 17, 2010)[1] was a famous American glamour photographer and actor. He was known for designing and building his own studio equipment and was active professionally for six decades.

Peter Gowland
Born(1916-04-03)April 3, 1916
DiedMarch 17, 2010(2010-03-17) (aged 93)
OccupationGlamour photographer
Years active19361966
Alice Adams (m. 1941)
Parent(s)Gibson Gowland
Sylvia Andrew

Gowland shot more than 1,000 magazine covers, mostly glamour shots of female models but also portraits of celebrities including Rock Hudson and Robert Wagner. His covers included Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Modern Photography. He invented elite cameras and equipment that he used to shoot pinups and magazine covers. In the late 1950s, Gowland also invented the twin-lens Gowlandflex camera, which used 4-by-5 inch film for high-quality pictures. The camera has since been used by such photographers as Annie Leibovitz and Yousuf Karsh.

Gowland grew up on movie sets and worked as film extra in his youth. He learned photo lighting and techniques from watching movies being shot. The son of Gibson Gowland and Sylvia Andrew, both actors, he acted in at least 12 films, mostly uncredited. He had a small part in Citizen Kane.[2] He died of surgical complications after fracturing his hip.[3][4]

The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice

The 1971 human anatomy textbook The Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice featured photographs by Gowland in the surface anatomy section. The book was authored by professors R. Frederick Becker, James S. W. Wilson, and John A. Gehweiler, and was met with scandal and a feminist boycott, which resulted in the withdrawal by the publisher after only 5000 copies were distributed.[5][6][7]


  • Classic Nude Photography, ISBN 1-58428-040-9
  • Peter Gowland's New Handbook of Glamour Photography, ISBN 0-517-56898-5
  • The Secrets of Photographing Women
  • Gowland's Guide to Glamour Photography
  • How to Photograph Women 1954 Crown, 7 printings
  • Art & Technique of Stereo Photography 1954 Crown, LCCN 54011184
  • Stereo Photography 1954 Crown, LCCN 54006642
  • Figure Photography 1954 Fawcett, 600,000 sold
  • How to Take Glamour Photos 1955 Fawcett
  • Glamour Techniques 1958 Fawcett
  • Photo Secrets 1958 Whitestone
  • Glamour Camera 1959 Fawcett
  • Face & Figure 1959 Fawcett
  • How to Take Better Home Movies 1960 ARCO
  • Guide to Electronic Flash 1960 Amphoto
  • Photo Ideas 1961 Whitestone
  • Peter Gowland Photographs the Figure 1962 Whitestone
  • Camera in Hawaii 1963 Whitestone
  • Camera in Japan 1964 Whitestone
  • Figure Quarterly 1965 Development Corp
  • Guide to Glamour Photography 1972 Crown, 16 printings
  • Electronic Flash Simplified 1976 Amphoto, 7 printings
  • Basic Glamour 1979 School of Modern Photography
  • The Secrets of Photographing Women 1981 Crown, 6 printings
  • New Handbook of Glamour Photography 1988 Crown - Random House
  • Henry Miller Portfolio 18 unbound prints 2000 Roger Jackson Publisher
  • Classic Nude Photography 2001 Amherst Media, Inc.


Year Title Role Notes
1936The Adventures of Frank MerriwellHimself
1936The Great ZiegfeldDancerUncredited
1936Cain and MabelDancerUncredited
1936Born to DanceDancerUncredited
1937Hot WaterCollege BoyUncredited
1939Wuthering HeightsDancerUncredited
1941Citizen KaneGuestUncredited
194613 Rue MadeleineUncredited
1947The Secret Life of Walter MittyR.A.F. PilotUncredited
1948Joan of ArcSoldierUncredited
1949You're My EverythingLeading ManUncredited
1966The SwingerPhotographerUncredited, (final film role)


  1. "Fashion photographer Peter Gowland dies at 93". Archived from the original on 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  2. Fashion photographer Peter Gowland dies at 93
  3. Los Angeles Times
  4. New York Times
  5. Halperin EC (February 2009). "The pornographic anatomy book? The curious tale of the Anatomical Basis of Medical Practice". Academic Medicine. 84 (2): 278–83. doi:10.1097/ACM.0b013e31819391e2. PMID 19174685.
  6. "Dr. Edward Halperin Interview". 2007-05-29. Archived from the original on 2014-03-01. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
  7. "University of Louisville :: News Releases :: Medical dean explores history of teaching anatomy". 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2013-09-18.
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