Blow Up puts the 'swinging Sixties' in the frame

Story by Jack Foley

SIX newly-acquired prints by David Bailey are the focus of a fascinating display at the National Portrait Gallery, inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 cult classic film Blow Up, which starred David Hemmings as a photographer in 'Swinging Sixties' London.

Bailey's iconic portraits of Michael Caine, Mick Jagger (pictured), Jean Shrimpton, Jane Birkin, Kenneth Tynan and Robert Fraser with Jann Haworth are shown alongside 20 other works by leading photographers, focusing on the icons of Sixties film, fashion and pop music in the Balcony Gallery until May 2003.

Several of the stars of Blow-Up are featured in the display, including Jane Birkin, David Hemmings and Sarah Miles. Fashion models Jill Kennington and Melanie Hampshire are also included, as photographed by Norman Parkinson.

A remarkable 'lost' portrait of four Beatles wives and girlfriends, by the late Ronald Traeger, is displayed alongside four works by Robert Whitaker, including studies of John, Julian and Cynthia Lennon, Brian Epstein and the notorious Beatles Butchers album cover.

Four studies from John D Green's best-selling 1967 book, Birds of Britain, include portraits of Jane Asher, Dusty Springfield and Julie Christie.

BLOW UP: SIXTIES PHOTOGRAPHY EXPOSED (Until May 2003); Balcony Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2H OHE. Tel: 020 7306 0055. Admission Free. Opening hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10am - 6pm; late opening: Thursday, Friday: 10am - 9pm.

WEB LINKS: Click here for the National Portrait Gallery website...
Click here to visit the BBC's Sixties special...

PHOTO CREDIT: Main picture shows Mick Jagger by David Bailey, 2001 © David Bailey