ABOUT PETER AND ALICE
Alice and Peter photographed beautiful women in the glamour and pin up style for over sixty years. In fact, the New York Times named him "America's No. 1 Pin-up Photographer ".
While best known for beautiful “pin-ups”, they also photographed children, numerous celebrities and the historic southern california beach lifestyle they lived. Many of the celebities they photographed were also their friends. Janye Mansfield, Jonathan Winters, Muhammad Ali and Raquel Welch are some of the big names they captured on film.
Peter was sent to Germany as a phtotographer during WWII. His War Years work are a sublime contrast to the pin ups he was knownn for. In addition, the Gowland team sold over 1000 magazine covers and photographed for playboy and countless advertising campaigns. With their expertise, Peter and Alice traveled the world giving lectures on photography and wrote over 35 books and guides related to portrait and glamour photoraphy.
Discontent with the cameras available, Peter branched out. He 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 actress Sylvia Andrew. As a young man he spent many years on the sets working as double and background actor. 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, speculative advertising photographs and creating "how to make" articles. 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 with the help of a GI loan. In 1954 they moved into their Rustic Canyon home, designed by William F. Overpeck. 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.
Jean Jani, Playboy layout 1958.