Blow-Up

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Those who were there on the ground at the time may suggest the reality was substantially different , but Hughesy's image of the way things were in mid-sixties swinging London is inextricably wound up with Michelangelo Antonioni's first English-language film. While there's every chance that Antonioni got it substantially wrong, or presented the same sort of distorted reality that appeared in Zabriskie Point, the day in the life of an English fashion photographer and his accidental involvement with a possible murder portrayed in Blow-Up hits many of the thematic nails right on the head.

The plot line is straightforward. After spending the night in a doss house gathering images for a book of art photos, fashion photographer Thomas is late for a photo shoot with Veruschka at his studio, which in turn delays a shoot with other models that doesn't work out.

 As a diversion, Thomas sets off to check out an antique shop he's interested in buying, encountering a couple of teenage girls with catwalk aspirations. Having checked out the junk shop and found the owner absent, Thomas wanders into a nearby park, looking for images to provide a counterpoint to the confrontational photographs he already has. He stumbles on what appears to be a tryst between an attractive woman and a middle-aged man in a light-gray suit, shoots the scene, and is leaving the park when the woman realises she has been photographed and chases him, demanding the negatives.

Having fobbed her off with a vague promise, Thomas revisits the junk shop, finds the owner, a woman in her early twenties who wants to get away from antiques by taking off for Nepal or Morocco(!), has returned, buys a wooden propellor, arranges to have it delivered to his studio and sets off to meet his business partner over lunch. Arriving back at the studio, he finds the woman from the park who is continuing to demand the roll of film. 

As far as Thomas is concerned, he's stumbled on some  sexual intrigue - it wasn't that long since the Profumo affair - and he's unwilling to determined to accede to her increasingly desperate requests. Rid of her after handing over a roll of undeveloped film, he's in the process of developing the shots and investigating what he's got through a series of blow-ups when he's interrupted by the prospective models from earlier in the day.

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 © Ian Hughes 2014