Last chance to relive Swinging Sixties at Hampstead gallery

Locked away for more than half a century, a collection of photographs capturing the essence of the Swinging Sixties has gone on show for the first time at a Hampstead gallery.

Philip Townsend’s snapshots – most of them taken while he was working for the Daily Express – have gone on display at Zebra Gallery, including photographs of Lulu, Elizabeth Taylor and Judy Garland.

The collection is a testament to a bygone era when celebrity photography was an art form, not a cash cow.

Mr Townsend, who got his first job working for Tatler magazine in the late 1950s, said: “I fell out of love with it, with paparazzi coming in and the relationship with celebrities changing.

“I came across it at Rex Harrison’s (star of Dr Dolittle) wedding with all these stupid little guys with cameras running around. They haven’t changed much.

“People started to take the whole thing so seriously. Before that you could just ring them up and ask to go round and take a picture, but that faded away.”

Mr Townsend often worked with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham at his home in Hampstead. The pair produced some of the first photographs of the band.

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The display will be taken down tomorrow (Thursday), but the gallery is hosting a drinks evening tonight between 6-8pm when Mr Townsend will speak about his work.