The swinging sixties are looked upon as a golden decade where the freedom which was so intensely fought for in World War two finally was achieved. With most of the 1950’s spent rebuilding Europe the 1960’s heralded the arrival of ‘Rock and Roll’, a slow up turn in the economy and thus an up turn in affordable fashion. It was the age when the youth of the world found a voice and were not afraid to speak out.
Its this era that the film Blow Up is set. The director Michelangelo Antonioni set out to reflect the ‘Age of Aquarius’ in the film and styled his main character on the new kid on the block of fashion photography ‘David Bailey.’
The film tells the story of two days in the life of a young and successful photographer who by pure chance photographs a murder. He is oblivious to this to start with but a series of black and white enlargements reveal the truth of the mysterious woman and her associates he photographed in the park.
The plot is laced with 1960’s culture from popular music of the time, the fashions, drug taking and sex. It was the first film to show full nudity and a clever plot by MGM ensured the scene was never cut.
I saw this film in the late 1970’s not long after I had purchased my first 35mm camera and the film inspired me to start freelancing a few years later. It has remained one of my favourite films of all time and made me an admirer of the early work of David Bailey ever since.