Brigitte Bardot, one of the great beauties of the 20th century. Unfortunately she is now a massive racist, but let’s overlook that for just a moment and remember why she became the most iconic French actress of her time.

Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi is an exhibition featuring paparazzi pictures of Brigitte Bardot at the height of her career. In celebration of the actress’s 75th birthday on the 28th September and coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Paparazzi, the exhibition serves to highlight the differences between the paparazzi photographs of the 1960s compared to today. Every image in the exhibition bears that classic sixties style of photography but the true intimacy they suggest is a million miles from the invasive pictures of today. For example, the picture in which Bardot holds her newborn son suggests the trust that you would give to a close friend. Many of the pictures in the exhibition have been taken by two of the most famous paparazzi photographers, Tazio Secchiaroli and Marcello Geppetti. The ‘Paparazzo’ character in iconic Italian film La Dolce Vita was based on Secchiaroli. Pictures by photographers such as Roger Corbeau, Loomis Dean, Walter Limot, David Magnus, Patrick Morin and Claude Schwartz are also featured in the exhibition.

The exhibition features 75 vintage photographs including some rare works that have never been exhibited or published previously. These are placed alongside familiar shots of Bardot, including the famous shot of her dressed as Charlie Chaplin. Many of the pictures feature her lovers, family, dogs and celebrity acquaintances, including Picasso. Bardot became a fashion icon in the sixties and is easy to see why. Photographs of the actress on set and touring to promote films show a naturally chic woman with a flair for fashion.

Brigitte Bardot and the Original Paparazzi is at the James Hyman Gallery until the 3rd of October, 2009.

Published by WAH

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