David Hamilton, the British photographer known for taking sensual pictures of young women who directed films including “Bilitis,” was found dead in his Paris home on Friday, just weeks after he was accused of rape, according to France’s AFP. He was 83.
The AFP reports that French investigators speculate that the cause of death was suicide, as Hamilton was found dead with a bag over his head.
In the late ’70s and early ’80s Hamilton created and released five films with erotic themes, shot in the same blurred, soft focus style as much of his photography. “Bilitis” was his first, released in 1977, about a teenage girl who meets a couple and develops a crush on the wife. “First Desires” (1984) depicts a trio of girls who are shipwrecked on a Mediterranean island and embark on their own journey.
Hamilton grew up in London until age 20 when he moved to Paris to work as a graphic designer on Elle magazine. His recognizable style would go on to be featured in other magazines including Réalités, Twen and Photo. He published more than 25 books over the years as recently as 2006 when he released “David Hamilton,” a collection of photographs, and “Erotic Tales,” a series of fictional short stories.
The unclear line between Hamilton’s life and his art was recently called into question by TV and radio personality Flavie Flament, who published an autobiography in October titled “The Consolation,” in which she describes being raped when she was 13 years old in 1987. Although she does not use Hamilton’s name in the book, Flament later told French media that she was referring to Hamilton. Two women have also come forth since then with similar allegations, though the statute of limitations has expired in all three cases. Because of Flament’s charges, French authorities are now considering whether to change the statute from the current 20 years for juvenile cases possibly to 30 years.
Hamilton responded to the accusations on Tuesday by telling the AFP, “I have done nothing improper.” He also accused Flament of trying to get her “15 minutes of fame by defaming me in her novel.”
(Hamilton is pictured above with Mona Kristensen)