With the end of the year approaching, the lists of Top, Best, Worse, Most … are starting to roll in. I received an email from Abe Books reporting The 50 Most Expensive Sales of 2014. Number 16 on the list was Box of Pin-Ups byDavid Bailey at $14,506. The description of the book reads:
Published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in 1965, this is Bailey’s debut masterpiece – a soft cover first edition. Bailey was just 27 at the time. The photo-book contains 36 images of celebrities and socialites from the Swinging Sixties, including Terence Stamp, The Beatles, Michael Caine, Mick Jagger (on the cover in a fur hoodie), Jean Shrimpton, P.J. Proby, Rudolph Nureyev, Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol and East End mobsters, the Kray Twins. Box of Pin-ups was not published in the USA due to the presence of the Krays in the book.
Looking through the images I was left with a sense of nostalgia. Michael Caine — Harry Palmer — a time of spy vs. spy, le Carré, the Wall, trust and belief in government. It is certainly worth remembering that the story in a picture can grow and evolve over time, beyond that at its moment at capture, to say more of the period; its feel; its emotion; its audacity.
Last year, when I bought a new pair of glasses, I told the clerk the style reminded me of those worn by Michael Caine. She didn’t know who I was talking about.