Sorry You Missed the 60s

  • 25 July 2006

This article is from 2006.

'If you can remember the sixties,' as the saying goes, 'then you probably weren't there'. But while photojournalist Philip Townsend's memory of the period is somewhat hazy, he's lucky enough to have the pictures to prove that he was right at the centre of the swinging London scene. Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, The Rolling Stones, Twiggy (pictured) and The Beatles all feature in his arresting images, which at the time were splashed across the pages of Tatler and The New York Times. Yet, in true 60s style, even Townsend himself didn't realise what a treasure trove he had until a few years ago.
'I put them away for 30 years and didn't really look at them until recently,' he explains. 'I had these pictures of Nico from Velvet Underground on a Harley Davidson, but I'd been selling them as just a pretty girl on a motorbike.'

Yet Townsend's isn't the only collection of photojournalism on show in Edinburgh over the festival. The National Portrait Gallery is exhibiting a collection of images by Harry Benson, who captured many of America's pivotal events during the 1960s, while pictures from Vogue and Rolling Stone by Albert Watson will be on display at the City Art Centre. 'It's really great because this wouldn't have happened ten years ago. I think the current cult of 'celebrity' has meant that pictures of older icons now appear even more significant and collectable.' (Rachael Street)

Studio One, 6 Stafford Street, 6-27 Aug.

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