Iconic photograph from Bruce Davidson in Britain in 1960. It eye was caught by scenes of a newer Britain, the Britain of the welfare state and the vanishing empire, of peace marchers, and teddy boys and Room at the Top. What Davidson captured was a feeling for excitement, for life, that had been growing throughout the country since the people of Great Britain became tired of the poverty and restriction in the years which directly followed WWII. Life was becoming a little gayer and the old taboos were breaking down; the leaden respectability of twenty years earlier began softening under the influence of newer and brighter ideas….
(see link at end)…I always had a feeling for Britain. We would listen to the BBC during the war, when I had an uncle Herb who was flying a bomber, which I believe may have been from England.
In 1960, I purchased a Hillman Minx convertible, which wasn’t a very expensive car in those days, and drove around England with the top down. It was an American-drive car, which was an advantage because I could snap people on the sidewalk more easily. I also had a sports coat made with the side pockets larger, so I could fit my Leicas in them.
I found this young woman quite by accident, as I was walking the London streets. I came upon a group of teenagers, and struck up a conversation. They took me into a cave, and then some kind of huge dancehall. I think it was on an island. It was getting late, and I needed to move on the next morning, so I didn’t stay very long.
But I isolated this girl to photograph, holding that kitten, which was probably a stray she had found on the street, and carrying that bedroll wrapped around her body. There was a great deal of mystery to her. I didn’t know where she had come from, and I didn’t get her name, but there was something about that face – the hopefulness, positivity and openness to life – it was the new face of Britain.Read More:http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2007/jan/04/photography
…The socialist pollicies of a liberal democracy was pushing many more people into middle-class lifestyles and the extreme differences of income and privilege, the snobberies were becoming blurred. The immense majority had a conscious feeling of space and ease around them which their parents never knew. It was the onset of the post modern context whereby shifts in world power and absence of empire were less consequential than rises in bank lending rates. A spawning of new puritanisms on the way with corresponding outbreaks of restlessness. Political tranquillity and the apathy that accompanies it. The flowering of the consumer society with the Dickensian trait of allowing cheerfulness to keep breaking in.