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Capital of Cool: new photography exhibition celebrates London's Swinging Sixties

Traffic 1960 C Norman Parkinson Ltd.  Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive.jpg

Fancy stepping into the dazzling London of the sixties, an era bursting with possibilities? Now you can with a new exhibition titled: Swinging Sixties London – Photography in the Capital of Cool.
 

Touching on all of the remarkable developments in and around photography at the time: fashion, celebrities, music, magazines, design and social change, this exhibition by Foam in Amsterdam showcases the work of iconic photographers of the sixties –  often as famous as the stars in their heyday.  
 
Featuring work by Terence Donovan, Brian Duffy, Norman Parkinson, John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, Eric Swayne, Philip Townsend and others, we are lucky enough to have a got a very small glimpse of some of the images featured.

English actress and singer Jane Birkin, pictured below by Eric Swayne, became well known for her relationship with Serge Gainsbourg. Paving the way for Alexa Chung, Lana Del Ray and others, she became the namesake of the Hermès Birkin bag.

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, 1965 © Eric Swayne

Eric documented icons like Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and the creative contemporaries that made up their infamous social circle throughout the 60s. His fresh, reportage style - and open access to the iconic faces of the time - eloquently evokes the innocence and hope of the unique era.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger, 1964 © Eric Swayne

Terence Donovan's game-changing fashion photographs were key to the English movement in fashion photography in the 1960s, he represented everything that was changing in the world of fashion; his eye altering the way women were perceived by the world. The shot he took below of Twiggy was groundbreaking.

Twiggy

Twiggy, 1966, Photograph Terence Donovan © Courtesy Terence Donovan Archive

Norman Parkinson (1913-1990) was instrumental in taking portrait and fashion photography beyond the stiff formality of his predecessors and injecting an easy and casual elegance into his impulsive and unstructured images which became icons of twentieth century style. Traffic from 1960 is an example of just one.

Traffic

Traffic, 1960 © Norman Parkinson Ltd. / Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

Brian Duffy was a key player in the ‘Swinging Sixties’ - with his high fashion and celebrity chic photographs. He helped redefine not only the aesthetic of fashion photography but also the place of the photographer within the industry. 

Duffy

Brian Duffy: Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive

Socialising with actors, pop stars, royalty and the notorious Kray Twins, Duffy - along with Terrance Donovan and other key snappers of the era - represented a new breed of photographer and found themselves elevated to celebrity status.

Duffy

Brian Duffy: Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive

Another highlight of the exhibition is the youth culture and social change on display through the work of lauded protest leader and photographer John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins, accompanied by the moving and often cheerful shots by society photographer Philip Townsend. The pair showcase images from music, film, magazines, fashion and design.

Catch Swinging Sixties London until 2 September at Foam  at Keizersgracht 609, 1017 DS Amsterdam.

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