Friday, 1 July 2011

Portrait of the Artist and Photographer circa mid-1970s.
All images copyright © +Seán Manchester

The Artist and Photographer on location in central London circa 1967.

The Artist and Photographer at work in his portrait studio circa 1963.

The Sixties


Mention of the Sixties must include Julie Christie whose films during that creative decade from Darling to Doctor Zhivago were certainly iconic.

My life as a photographer began in the early Sixties when throughout that decade I ran a photographic studio by day and performed by night as a professional musician in rock 'n' roll, showband and modern jazz groups. Examples of nostalgic pictures taken during that exciting period follow ...

The Southlanders showband for whom I played tenor saxophone.

The street front of my studio in Islington, London, circa mid-Sixties.

One of the studio windows displaying some of my models circa 1967.

Two Californian girls who worked temporarily as models circa 1968.

Blowing tenor saxophone on a rooftop in 1969 — a very Sixties thing!

This model had a "Bonnie Parker" look about her which intrigued me.

I photographed her around the time of the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde.

My best friend during the Fifties and Sixties — guitarist Steve Howe.

Good friend from the Sixties who disappeared — the mystic Robin Kitchen. 

My dear friend Spike Milligan playing cornet. We had much in common.

Model and girlfriend who had a very sultry look — and green eyes.

Saxophone modern jazz solo — probably toward the end of the Sixties.

Model and girlfriend — innocent, beautiful with a softly feminine voice.

For me the most important attribute for a model is her look and her eyes.

She was electrifying when in front of a camera — otherwise very tranquil.

She probably had the greenest eyes ever — we met up again years later.

Composite of various sessions as a saxophonist in the mid to late Sixties.

Atmospheric pictures cannot be contrived — they just happen.

The "Jean Shrimpton" look was very popular with photographers.

Strange and unusual angles in strange and unusual places.

My model portrays a typical dolly-bird look that epitomised the Sixties.

She saw strange things at Highgate Cemetery in 1967.

Impression of transparent spectre witnessed near Highgate Cemetery.

Impression of unearthly entity seen at Highgate Cemetery in the Sixties.

The Seventies


The Artist and Photographer at Highgate in the early Seventies.

A model and close friend in an eerie setting.

The most successful film at the beginning of the new decade — Love Story.

The most popular British television series — Upstairs Downstairs.

Upstairs Downstairs starred Lesley-Anne Down as Lady Georgina Worsley.

Lesley-Anne now lives in America, but nonetheless sent me this picture.

The Seventies opened as immersed in metaphyiscal mystery as the Sixties had closed. This was reflected in some of the photographic images I took, but there was much else besides which should not be overlooked. My work as a professional musician slowed down, and the studio I ran had closed by the end of the previous decade. I was now freelance, but also working on the other side of the lens as an actor in both low budget and major films. Here I met and befriended many well known performers, including the alluring French actress Sylvaine Charlet. We shared many interests.

A similar image of us appears in her biography — Sylvaine Superstar.

Fellow artiste and girlfriend — the beautiful actress Sylvaine Charlet.

On the set of the film Beren in Paris in which Sylvaine and I starred.

Sylvaine was also an accomplished musician, artist and writer.

Period parts always felt more comfortable for both me and Sylvaine.

She was no more suited for modernity and the new century than am I.

Film scene from an art-house movie with a very established actress.

A dramatic scene from the low budget movie The Duel in which I fenced.

Sylvaine was a very accomplished fencer who trained every week.

Acting against type in a science fiction movie everyone will recognise.

An altogether more comfortable rôle for me — set in the 19th century.

An iconic British film of the previous decade was Tom Jones.

It starred Susannah York whom I came to know and like enormously.

As the Seventies wore on, I continued with various artistic pursuits such as drama, photography and music. Yet the metaphysical impact of the Sixties had to a large extant become magnified for me in the decade that followed. Inescapable was the dominance of mysterious happenings at Highgate and its environs. These permeated into everything until the force originally emanating from Highgate's famous graveyard was disrupted and quietened. For those who believed in such strangeness witnessed by those who saw it, no proof was necessary. For those who disbelieved, no amount of proof would ever suffice. What happened back then obviously affected my artistic expression via various media, not least my photographic imagery and portraiture in oils — examples of which can be found throughout this blog and also surface in my books on the supernatural; not least, Carmel and, of course, The Highgate Vampire