fashion, photography

when the morning comes and the battle is won

I have decided it’s about bloody time I shared some of my bookshelf with you. Mostly because I’ve stopped being lazy and have actually set up the scanner on the desk (as opposed to sitting idly on the shelf under a pile of unopened letters – I dont like to move it for fear of unearthing the gathering dust) but also just because it’s packed with some of my favourite images and photographers and fashions. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get this hard-copy onto my blog, but here it is – the first instalment for your viewing pleasure.

I shall start with ‘Unseen Vogue’, a little treat that found its way into my Christmas stocking this year (thanks to my boy!). It’s an insight into Vogue’s unpublished archives; the photographs that didn’t quite make it for one reason or another, but, as you will see, could quite easily have made it and could feasibly make up the catalogue of iconic images we refer to all the time in our blogs. They are, after all, Vogue shoots and Vogue photographers, Vogue stylists and Vogue models, and in that respect deserve our attention. Some of the images are nostalgic and poignant, catching models when they weren’t doing what they were supposed to – you know, yawning or with their arm in a funny position or just speaking or not looking as picture-perfect as the pages of Vogue dictate.

Alexandra Shulman says in the foreword: Unseen Vogue is a pictorial history of the magazine, bound together by many of these untold tales. The images it includes are not simply images from Vogue shoots, but pictures that testify to the labyrinth of labour that must be negotiated from conception to publication. In every contact sheet there are 100 decisions; in every crop there is concerned debate……. The question that returns again and again is, what would I have done had I been faced with those pictures on my desk? In this collection there are some images that I fervently hope I would have had the foresight to publish – even though at the time they would have seem unsettlingly avant-garde. There are, too, variations of a published image that I’m not sure I would have published at all.

Like Shulman, I have to say I do wish some of these images had made it (and you will see why) but I’m glad that this book has enabled me to see them, despite their original fate.

Barbara Goalen by John Deakin, 1951
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Coat by Dior from the Paris collections, attributed to Henry Clarke, 1950
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‘The contemporary look’ by Anthony Denney, 1955
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Jean Shrimpton by David Bailey, 1962
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‘Shophound’ by Michael Cooper, 1965
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Jean Shrimpton by David Bailey, 1965
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Ursula Andress by Brian Duffy, 1966
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Twiggy (an unpublished cover shot) by Just Jaeckin, 1967
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I’m getting a bit scan-happy here, aren’t I. I’m going to stop now. I’m sure that’s enough of a taster, although I’d love to share the whole book with you for each page carries its own merit. I really love it because it teaches you to constantly look behind an image; I can’t read Vogue these days without wishing I could see the hundreds of beautiful mistakes.

I promise to share something else from my bookshelf with you very soon. Ta-ta for now.

photography, poetry

how to dress the misery in fit magnificence

Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven:
We know her woof, her texture; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an Angel’s wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine –
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-personed Lamia melt into a shade.