CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF BLOW-UP ON-STAGE CONVERSATION WITH VANESSA REDGRAVE
(I did the photographic documentation of the event)
Fifty years ago, fashion photography as we know it today changed forever with the release ofBlow-Up. The film caused a stir with its portrait of London in the swinging 60s, casual sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, including an incendiary, destructive performance by the Yardbirds. Antonioni’s camera follows fashion photographer Thomas around London in his smart convertible Rolls Royce, wearing white jeans (which started a trend), blue gingham shirt and a sports jacket. His ennui is apparent in everything he does, from photographing professional models (Veruschka and Jill Kennington included) to teasing would-be models, going to a rock gig or a fashionable party… Until the moment he develops a roll of film with pictures he’s taken, hiding among bushes, of a couple in a park. The more he looks at the pictures, the more he becomes convinced he’s captured what could be a murder. He then endeavours, though ultimately without success, to find the mysterious woman, played by an always outstanding Vanessa Redgrave, in an effort to solve the enigma.
Antonioni saw the London scene as a perfect setting for his story. He consulted local journalists to help build a picture of the lifestyle of the most fashionable young photographers. David Hemmings’s character is a composite of elements that reference David Bailey, Terence Donovan, David Montgomery, and John Cowan, whose studio became a principal set.
Vanessa Redgrave will be in conversation with Philippe Garner, Deputy Chairman of Christie’s and author of the book Antonioni’s Blow-Up, about the film, its cultural impact and work with Antonioni.
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