Martin Amis And His Friends – Photographs by Angela Gorgas

The National Portrait Gallery in London presents previously unseen photographs of Martin Amis taken by his friend, the photographer Angela Gorgas. These evocative black and white portraits provide an intimate document of the literary and artistic circles in which they moved in the late 1970s.

Taken in London and Paris the photographs feature literary and social figures including Ian McEwan, Christopher Hitchens, Kingsley Amis, James Fenton, Pat Kavanagh and Candia McWilliam. These photographs have remained in the photographer’s private collection for almost 30 years and offer us a unique insight into Amis and his friends in the period when the writer was working on the novels Success, Other People and the screenplay for the film Saturn 3.

When Gorgas first met Amis in 1977 she was sharing a house in Maida Vale with Amschel Rothschild and the writer Candia McWilliam while working as a portraitist and freelance photographer. Amis was literary editor of the New Statesman, working with Christopher Hitchens and Julian Barnes, who was married to Pat Kavanagh, Amis’s then literary agent.

Gorgas and Amis became engaged in 1978. They lived and worked predominantly in London, visiting Amis’s father, Kingsley Amis and stepmother, Elizabeth Jane Howard most weekends at their home in Hampstead. In 1979 they moved to Paris for several months where they were frequently visited by friends including Ian McEwan, Christopher Hitchens, James Fenton and Mark Boxer. Gorgas’s close relationships within this circle of friends has resulted in this remarkable collection of unguarded and candid portraits.

Gorgas started taking photographs as a teenager. She went on to study graphic design and photography at Hornsey College of Art and after graduation was recruited by renowned designer, David Hillman to work in the art department at Nova magazine. A painter as well as a photographer, Gorgas’s paintings have been exhibited at the Royal Academy and the Mall Galleries.