The area of Mayfair, besides London’s amazing Royal Academy of Art, did not have a great appeal on my drive for cultural exploration such as the East End – until now. Within the classy Piccadilly arcades, amidst old-established trades of hats, ties and suits, sit the SNAP galleries. Since moving to Central London three years ago, the gallery acquired renown as a specialist for iconic rock n’ roll photography and caught my attention with their latest exhibition ‘Roger Kasparian – The Sixties’. As an admirer of analogue photography, I simply could not miss out this small selection of rare camera work, which has never been exhibited before and impressively conveys the lifestyle of the 1960s.
In the late 60s, Paris has become a magnet for aspiring musicians, actors and writers hence the young photographer Roger Kasparian was fortunate enough to document the footsteps of the world’s creative generation in the French capital. His single portraits, which capture icons like Serge Gainsbourg, Marianne Faithful or Françoise Hardy, succeed in breaking a false façade of fame and stardom, creating an intimate, personal atmosphere. Given the fact that each of the photographs is utterly beautiful, I’d choose the following as my favorites: A shot of the thoughtful Serge Gainsbourg within the scenic setting of a Parisian neighborhood and the photo of young singer Marianne Faithful sparkling of innocence, timidity and natural beauty in the early stages of her career.
Kasparian’s outstanding shots of influential bands like The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones are exhibited in the gallery’s basement and do not only portray the 60s rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle itself, but highlight the musician’s distinctive attitude both on and off stage. Particularly Mick Jagger and Keith Richard’s eccentric, arrogant, ‘don’t-give-a-fuck’-mindset sticks out among the other exhibits and is brilliantly arranged next to black and white stills of The Beatles with their contrasting, rather clean cut and less controversial attitude towards the audience. Although relatively unknown today, Roger Kasparian’s photos are a testimony of extraordinary moments skillfully captured on film without losing the feeling for authenticity in aesthetics. The exhibition ‘Roger Kasparian – The Sixties’ still runs until 22nd June 2013 at the SNAP Galleries, 12 Piccadilly Arcade, London SW1Y 6NH, United Kingdom.