Friday, 13 February 2009


This book captures my imagination. It was on my parent's bookshelves when I was young and I was transfixed by it. I loved the picture of Jeanne Moreau, the smoke curling into the dark background. Looking again, it's hard to find a picture that doesn't produce a strong emotion. I thought it had gone missing a year or so ago, and looked for a replacement, and the price was nudging $1000. I was pretty happy when it showed up.

The full title is Goodbye Baby and Amen: A Saraband for the Sixties. It's a photography book, with portraits by David Bailey and text by Peter Evans, but it's so much more than that. The words inside are spare and bewitching. The images are the same. It's divided into chapters such as Couples and The Look, and the portraits are of artists, musicians, actors and intellectuals, some who are still household names, and some who have faded from popular view a little; it's these perhaps that you want to discover more than those who still feel familiar. But the genius of the portraits is that no one feels familiar, even the Rolling Stones, and everyone looks absolutely young without the nostalgia, romantic without the sentimentality, that often accompanies 1960's photographs.

I've done my best, but I don't think these pictures really do it justice.

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