Book Review: As It Was
Photographer Frank Habicht arrived in London in the midst of the 1960s, when its pop revolution was just beginning. In his new book, As It Was, Habicht examines the fashion, music, and lifestyle expressions of Londoners during this time. Habicht captures the mottos of a progressive youth culture that longed for social and political change. These iconic black and white photographs reflect the spirit of the sixties.
This book provides an eye-opening view on the history of a country that was undergoing its own social and political transformation. This era captured the assassination of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X, and protests against the Vietnam War that filled the streets.
The conservative postwar years in England gave way to a period of turbulence, with young people longing for a life without constraints - filled with love, freedom, and peace. London went from a gloomy postwar capital into a vibrant locale - as baby-boomers overtook the city. This new generation emphasized the new and modern. Habicht fell in love with this decade’s entire aestheticism. His photographs captured the distinctions between old traditions and new ideas.
Most images were taken on the streets with his compact Rolleiflex, simply capturing what he saw. Staged images were shot in a church bombed by the Nazis and even the rooftop of his flat in West London. Various models flooded his pictures, some clothed and the rest nude. The raw lives of these individuals are photographed, on the streets, at concerts, and attending youth rallies. His images provide a keen understanding of a time in history that endured a move towards a more contemporary life.
The heart of London and the restlessness of this generation is notable. The young crowds pictured, treat everyday as a grand new adventure. As It Was, captured what was known as the “revolutionary sixties” and turned them into still moments. A nostalgic but utopian era, all including images of art, beauty, and memories.
As It Was was published by Hatje Cantz in 2018.