13.4.12

blow up: bad boys



Art imitating art imitating art: I shot these at the press preview for BRITISH DESIGN 1948-2012 at the V&A. If you can imagine, it's this massive exhibition, and I had entered into a dark time warp of Mary Quant mannequins, original David Bailey photos of Mick Jagger, and there's this screening, in the darkness, of a scene from Antonini's Blow Up. And my heart nearly stopped because I remember as a young girl having such a crush on David Hemmings, who played a photographer that (I later learned) was modelled after David Bailey. And this great iconic music from the period is playing, and I was mesmerised, watching this scene.. it's just so blatantly sexual. And as I started shooting - because it is SUCH a treat, as a photographer, to be allowed to shoot inside a museum - and another press photographer saw me shooting, so he starts shooting too... here we are, shooting still photography of movement, but it's not live, it's frozen in time, but we're still trying to catch action.



I remember David Hemmings from Camelot. We had gone into NYC on a school trip, Derrick Johnston - the cutest boy in the school - had just confessed his love for me and all the kids were teasing us about it on the bus. That was my absolute romantic, coming of age film. Everyone loved Lancelot (Franco Nero) and yes, he was cute - and the prototype for all my future romances in NY with cute French boys - but I was equally drawn to Arthur, Richard Harris. The English man, with his wit and wisdom and, well, Englishness. And then, about halfway through the film, who should appear but this sprite. This bad boy. MORDRED. Played by David Hemmings, with his cute little goatee and that blonde hair.. I mean, this guy was trouble with a capital T, and he only had a few lines in the whole film, but I was totally intrigued.



Of course, when Blow Up came out, I doubt it even played in our local suburban cinema. I don't even know how I knew about it - God knows, I was way too young to be able to see it. I must have devoured magazine or newspaper articles. I was fascinated with the idea of a mystery developing - literally developing - from a blow-up of an image that the David Hemmings/Bailey character caught in a London park. Hampstead Health, I'm pretty sure it was. And so I've whiled away a good hour or so, blowing up these stills, and musing on the concept of bad boys.



'I only went out with bad boys in college,' my friend Margaret said recently, 'and then, when I was ready to settle down, I got in touch with the good guy, who had always loved me.' I, on the other hand, married the one bad boy I knew - and wouldn't you know it, he calmed down. But it does seem that, as men go, they do fall into one or the other category. I mean, as women, we can have a phase where we're trying our best to be bad, so boys will like us, while inside, we're secretly good. But bad boys don't seem to operate that way. They're bad just because they feel like it. And they don't care whether we like them or not, which, I suppose, is why we do.

Images blown up by me, courtesy of Antonini's Blow Up: showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum until August.

7 comments:

Alexandra said...

Have just bookmarked this Jill so I can remember the name of he exhibition for the next time I'm in London! These stills are fantastic - I bet it was such a brilliant experience to be granted permission to shoots inside a museum. It's such a coincidence that you mention Camelot - I have a fascination with Arthurian Legend and am currently reading the original Le Morte Darthur by Thomas Malory as well as a book entitled "Arthur: The King In The West" documenting all of the trails he seems to have left in the counties of the West Country. I've got a post planned for it at some point in the future - outfits and all!

O D Y S S E Y said...

what a fantastic movie! as i mentioned in my tweet, it's a favorite.
btw, i married a bad boy as well. ;)

Rosalind said...

I do so enjoy the way that your telling of the sequence of events at the exhibition that led to you shooting these stills of a movie scene is threaded with personal story and recollection.

adrielleroyale said...

Bad boys always scared me - only had a crush on one who was pretty much untouchable lol :) I only liked the big strong good guys in the movies and married a good boy too. I much too innocent and sheltered to be involved with a bad boy in high school I think! Not to mention my 3 brothers and watchful father would never have allowed it! :)

Fashionistable said...

Ah the attraction of the bad boy. I think you last comment hit the nail firmly on the head. Xxxx
Have to say I find it hard to read the new robot proof words.

polka dot said...

Thank you - Fashionistable what robot proof words? I think I'd better check my settings - I can't remember if I"ve got it on the spam proof thing or not! I'll switch it off - it's not like it really stops spammers (or anonymous un-nice comments - those I have to take a decision whether to delete or not anyway - as do all bloggers, I guess. Actually... that's a good topic for a future post - to delete, or not to delete? : )

Adrielle, bad boys scared me too! They still do. My husband most of all!

Thanks Roz, that is so sweet of you, and Alexandra, I'm going to follow your lead on those books, I haven't read either! - and Stephanie, I've learned my new thing for the day. I had no idea - in all the things we've talked about - that your husband is a bad boy too! xx

The Foolish Aesthete said...

I love this film, Blow Up, so swinging '60s and mod and cool! Definitely bad boy. I guess you could say I married a bad boy too -- but not in the glamorous sense! He just has such a sense of humor and loves practical jokes :)

Love that you blew up these shots too. I wonder what you discovered ...? -- Jenny xxx