Blow-Up is a fabulous Retro film based on the real life antics of fashion photographers from 1960's London.

Recently a friend mailed a copy of a terrific documentary about the real people behind the film Blow-Up. I sat absolutely mesmerized for 2 hours watching the documentary, the backstory behind the 60's Fashion scene:

THE REAL BLOW UP fame, fashion, and photography in the 1960's.

A 2 hour BBC Documentary that is unfortunately not available for sale or out even on a You tube video. The background of the photographers, models, actors and rocks stars of the 1960's is riveting and the BBC should make a film about Bailey singularly. Release of the original would be in store as well.

Thank you HH for all of your generous tutorials!

I did find a great two-part interview with Mr. Bailey on You Tube:

David Bailey, who captured the most powerful icons of the 1960s in his photographs. He first became interested in photography while serving in the Royal Air Force, and he started out as an assistant to fashion photographer John French.

His first published pictures appeared in 1960, and from then he became famous for making stars of a new generation of models, including Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, who he married for five years, and Penelope Tree. You adapt to who you're photographing. It's their personality, not mine I want. Whereas models once appeared cold and aloof, Bailey's work gave them a personality, thanks to the close rapport he enjoyed with them. It was considered revolutionary at the time.

Of Jean Shrimpton, he said: "She was magic and the camera loved her too. In a way she was the cheapest model in the world - you only needed to shoot half a roll of film and then you had it. "She had the knack of having her hand in the right place, she knew where the light was, she was just a natural."

Bailey continues to work today, with recent subjects including Manchester band Oasis, boxer Naseem Hamed and model Naomi Campbell. But his style of photography remains the same. "I've always tried to do pictures that don't date. I always go for simplicity," he said.

Jean Shrimpton started it all:

Jean Shrimpton

When British newcomer David Bailey came to New York in the winter of 1962 with model and girlfriend Jean Shrimpton, it was considered by most to be an audacious move. The refreshing body of work that resulted however, allowed Bailey and his photographs to pioneer the subsequent transatlantic invasion by the likes of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.

Shooting with his new 35mm camera and without any crew members or stylists, Bailey was able to capture the energy of this city during the era of Andy Warhol and jazz nirvana.

The photographs in NY JS DB 62 exude the beauty of a tough, but naïve couple whose decision to break boundaries is just as inspiring today as it was in 1962. Images from NY JS DB 62, are out now on Steidl.

Barry Lategan

Barry Lategan is one of the country’s most renowned and influential photographers. Probably best known for his early discovery and portraits of Twiggy – two of which are exhibited in the V&A Museum – Barry has photographed some of the most notable celebrities of the past forty years.

HRH Princess Anne, Paul and Linda McCartney, Iman, Germaine Greer, Calvin Klein, Sol Campbell, John Major, Margaret Thatcher and Salman Rushdie are just a few of the famous faces that have appeared in front of his lens.

His career as a fashion photographer has also seen much of his work make it to the pages and front covers of international editions of Vogue and Harpers Bazaar and he won the Halina award for the 1986 Pirelli calendar. Other plaudits include a Clio Award for a TV commercial for Armani perfume and a D&AD Award for the Millennium stamp.


Hugh O'Malley Fashion and Beauty Photographer London said...

Thanks for such an informative post. I've always loved David Bailey's earlier work. It's still inspiring, generations later. Will try to scoot out the documentary but you're right, a rudimentary search of the 'net doesn't bring up much.


Retro Kimmer said...

Thank you so much for the lovely comment. I live for the retro fabulous fashion of the 1960's. What about releasing snippets on you tube?

Fast Film said...

40 years ago I paid a LOT of attention to the work of Bailey, and in my naive learner's fashion thought I was emulating his experiments with high key light, etc. Re-reading your piece here, I now know that I actually absorbed his most important dictum inadvertently:
"You adapt to who you're photographing. It's their personality, not mine I want."
Goddamn, that's important advice for any photographer...

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