1968 exhibition 'Some Distinguished Women' featured
some of the famous women she had photographed over the
course of her long career, but also included a number
of portraits specifically taken for the exhibition.
As so often in the past, many of them were involved
one way or another in the arts, though on this occasion,
she also included a few politicians and other famous
people in public life. To celebrate Madame Yevonde's
eightieth birthday and her sixty years in portrait photography,
the Royal Photographic Society mounted an impressive
retrospective exhibition consisting of about a hundred
of her best images covering every aspect of her vast
and memorable output. Her health had deteriorated during
the organisation of the exhibition, and she had been
in and out of hospital, but on the opening evening she
was in sparkling form, and thoroughly enjoyed the limelight.
The occasion was widely reported in the Press, including
an excellent 5-page feature in the Observer colour magazine.
Shortly after this, she was interviewed on television
by David Frost, who coaxed a memorable performance out
of her. The exhibition and the interview were a fitting
tribute to her as an artist and a champion of women's
rights, as well as a great pioneering spirit.
failing health, Madame Yevonde continued working to
within a few months of her death in December 1975. She
will be remembered by all who knew her well as a born
innovator and experimenter, and a pioneer of colour
photography who, like all true pioneers, was not afraid
to take enormous risks in the furtherance of their chosen
goal. Her images are immediately recognisable, often
highly original in their composition, strongly personal
in flavour, and full of humanitarian sympathy. Though
it is often not difficult to place them in their correct
historical context, many of her images have that rare
ability to completely transcend time. Her colour sense
was unique, and her boundless imagination enabled her
to deploy it with stunning effect. She was greatly respected
by her fellow professionals for her innovation, imagination
and the enthusiasm with which she set about everything
she undertook. To all who knew her well, whether as
friend, client or fellow professional, her abiding sense
of fun and ready wit were among her most endearing traits.
In a life full of creative activity, she more than lived
up to her own oft-proclaimed motto 'Be original or die'.