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Bikini / Beachy Head / 1969 av Jim Lee
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This photo idea was conceived in 1969, it was a swimsuit that I wanted to shoot by the sea but it was shot in England in the chilly days of late Autumn and therefore not in the sunny tropics where we could have had white sand, sunshine and blue skies. At the time it was early in my career building. I was being driven to photograph by way of eventually becoming a Film Director. So as in those days I was referencing early French art movies like “Sundays with Cybele” 1962 and “The Wanderer” 1967 shot by the Albicoco’s - father & son team – these films were strange encounters with life usually relating to some kind of peculiar adventure sometimes love stories other times tragedies. I was also fascinated by the 1958 book – “Love on the Left Bank” shot by a Dutch photographer in Paris. So as a result of my imagination at that time experimenting with so many controversial ideas I came up with this story of complication between a man and woman. As the star was the swimsuit I decided to focus mainly on the woman and so empowered her to help project the importance of the swimsuit. I shot it on my Nikon F camera with a 24mm wide angle lens thus as I was quite close up to her you get the slight distortion of her body which I think exaggerates the drama of the painful dilemma of the story. I wanted to empower women in my photographs then and still do today, it became a style thing for my work. The guy Philip Boxer, in the photo was my assistant and as he looked rather like Bob Dylan at that time I asked him to be part of my story. He bought down from London to the south coast where I shot this photo at Beachy Head in Sussex his music system which was hooked up to his Mini car and Bob Dylan’s most recent LP Nashville Skyline that we played the track “Lay Lady Lay”. We scrambled down a two hundred foot cliff to the beach Philip then threw the leads of his music system over the cliff top to the beach, we then carried down two large speakers and set up the shoot to the Music track of Lay Lady Lay. I was attempting to show the strength of personality of the woman the complication of the relationship, the sexually charged and chaotic drama between them both but also make sure the swimming costume looked good. This photo became iconic and has been published again and again some people when asking me what was the idea behind this shot – I jest and say that she was looking for her car keys! The Model in the photograph is Ann Schaufuss.