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Friday, 29 January 2010


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I'm downloading that Duffy doc… I think his server might have been TOPped.

Many people in Britain who have no interest in photography know Bailey's name mainly because of his appearance in a series of Olympus adverts on TV for the Trip 35 in the 70s and again through the 80s. In implying his fame, it actually made him much more famous and many people here who'd never be able to identify a book or shot of his know the line from one of his ads: "Who do you think you are? David Bailey?" (It's a line that photographers who take pictures all the time tend to hear quite often in London, even from passers by.)

Several of the ads are on YouTube and some are still funny.

BTW, I absolutely loathed Antonioni's Blow Up when I saw it in the '80s in a cinema but loved it when I watched it again last year. I suspected even before putting the movie on that I'd love it this time around. Can't really explain why.

Glad that those of you outside the UK are now able to see it.
2 things that struck me in particular:- the dry, wry dialogue from Bailey that implied "why are you talking about this bloke instead of me" and a sense of gratitude that my teenage years coincided with the glorious 60's.
Well worth watching.

Cheers, Robin

I saw this documentary when broadcast. In the context of the recent Time cover post here, and also of the recent Ctein print offer, it is quite comical to consider Duffy's selection of dye transfer (on David Bowie album cover artwork) on overtly economic grounds: to drive up the job's expense for the client. He clearly relished pulling out the print, though - and not just for that reason.

David Hemmings was the actor in Blow-Up, not the character. This kind of movie belongs to a bolder era where not only did characters not require a full name, but often, it was not of great concern whether the audience would even enjoy what they saw.

I was about to add, few back then cared whether what the characters were doing made any sense; then I realised - this describes the current film industry too, though for other reasons. In the 1960s films made no sense where the director was madly pursuing some vain and self-referential authorial eccentricity; today they make no sense where they are pretzelled by tie-ins and product placement, and bedevilled by timid focus-group abasement to the audience.

Hmmm...the link is broken. Maybe it got TOP'd.

"the website" link tells me I don't have permission to access it. Hopefully, someone will post a workaround.

I think you meant to say that David Bailey was the model for Thomas in Antonioni's Blow up (Thomas is the character, David Hemmings was the actor who played him).

"David Hemmings was the actor in Blow-Up, not the character."

Whoops, sorry, my bad. I made the change in the post. Thanks Richard.

Never saw that movie myself.


I saw "Blow-up" when it first came out and have watched it several times since. When I first saw it, I and many others were of course found this raunchy exposure of the 60's fashion world very striking. But what was also of interest then, and increasingly so on repeated viewings, is the section, really the core of the film, where Thomas, the fashion photographer, has shot some photos of a couple in the park simply because there was something about them that caught his photographer's eye. He then subsequently enlarges and re-enlarges one of the frames(which is why the film is called Blow-up)to reveal a body lying down in the bushes. It is never clear whether this is someone who is connected to the couple, someone who is dead, murdered, or maybe just a sleeping drunk. These ideas about a photographic reality which the camera sees but the naked eye doesn't and the ambivalence inherent in the interpretation of a photograph is what will probably make this film an enduring work of art and not just a fictional document about one aspect of the 60's.

If you haven't seen "Blow Up" or Francis Ford Coppola's "The Conversation" I highly recommend seeing them back to back.

They might be the two best and most entertaining movies about Epistemology ever made.

I saw the Duffy programme here in the UK a few weeks ago. I liked the fact that he wasn't pretentious enough to consider himself a great artist, rather he refered to himself as a good craftsman and his work as a job well done.

Hugh -- We were exposed to those two films together like that when I was taking film studies courses back in college. The Conversation was, we were told, made partly in reference to Blow Up, so it's not even an externally-imposed relationship.

Haven't seen either in years, but I remember both very fondly. The Kodak signature colors (not just the yellow) in Blow Up!

Great to see that those outside the UK can now view this documentary - once the server recovers!
I too used to buy the fashion mags - and the early LIFE mag - to see good photography back in the 60s and 70s. One of my favourites was NOVA, and I've kept the copies I bought for nearly forty years now.
The article that Duffy mentions in the film, about "How to Undress in front of your Man', I posted over on my site in mid-Jan as it is a classic. Without wishing to bomb my server as well, anyone is keen to view it is welcome to visit. Just type Duffy in the search box if you don't spot it under 'recent'.

Thanks so much for posting the link to this video. While I don't have an hour to devote to watching this right now, I've definitely saved this in my bookmarks and hopefully I'll get some time tonight to watch. I never heard of the Black Trinity of British photographers but my interest is piqued now!

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