October 12, 2009


Sue Steward of the Evening Standard reported today that a Photography exhibit has opened at the National Portrait Gallery that captures the decade's styles and design trends through a look at Pop stars. With names like David Bailey, Angus McBean, The Beatles, David Bowie, and Mick Jagger, we know we are in for some Spy Vibe-cool artifacts. A highlight, she writes, is the work of Fiona Adams. Her 1965 image of Bowie and a Mod-styled Jeanette is below. Adams made the now-famous image of The Beatles leaping for the Twist and Shout EP, which has been revived as current Rock Band iconography. 007 Thunderball vocalist Tom Jones is also featured. See below for a 60s live performance! From the Evening Standard:

The subtitle to this autumn blockbuster, "the 60s exposed", carries a whiff of sex'n'drugs'n' rock'n'roll revelations. In fact, it is a nostalgic, impressive documentary marking the rapid changes in pop, contemporary design and photography between 1960-69. A shot of press photographers in raincoats waiting for The Beatles at York Station, by Northern photo-journalist, Ian Wright, epitomises the generation gap.

Each year of the decade, occupies an exhibition space that includes a vitrine-decorated like a Sixties teenager’s bedroom with record covers, signed portraits and leading pop magazines, Rave and Fabulous. Opening pre-Beatles, the silk-suited, Elvis-quiffed Billy Fury, Cliff Richard, and Adam Faith are still lodged in Fifties America then everything explodes into pop, psychedelia, rock, mods and soul boys, and the music industry discovers modern marketing, experimental typography and myriad photographic styles.

Old masters such as Norman Parkinson come on board (shooting the Beatles at Abbey Road in deck shoes and slacks), and Angus McBean is keyed into Modernism with hand-painted backdrops to his portraits. Publications chart the new psychedelic lettering and acid colours, designers imitating photographers such as David Bailey. His iconic portrait of Mick Jagger in a parka occupies his personal enclosure. The experimenters were at their peak: Gered Mankowitz making meticulously artfully composed pictures with The Rolling Stones, and Vic Singh experimenting with prism lenses to match The Pink Floyd's psychedelic music.

Of the many now overlooked but outstanding photographers represented, Fiona Adams is best-known for the leaping silhouettes of the Beatles, and her lack of credit for the cover of their EP, Twist and Shout. Light years away, Tony Frank took Tom Jones back to the Welsh Valleys and produced the most lyrical shot in the show. If you’re bored with the glut of Sixties exhibitions, think again: this magnificent collection draws the line under the era- until a new generation discovers it. Until 24 January, 2010 (www.npg.org.uk)

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