Frank’s new book AS IT WAS was launched at Paris Photo and will be available internationally in February 2019.
It can also be ordered from the Hatje Cantz website here.
When the German photographer Frank Habicht arrived in London in the 1960s, the pop revolution of the swinging sixties was still in the starting blocks. Flower power, free love, “make love, not war” – these are the mottos of a progressive youth culture that longed for profound social and political changes and expressed this longing in fashion, music, and lifestyle.
Habicht immediately fell in love with the lively spirit of his generation, and his photographs captured the distinctions between old traditions and new ideas in the British capital. In the ensuing years, his pictures of this social transformation met with a widespread response.
In 1969, Valerie Mendes wrote about Frank Habicht in the renowned Metropolis Magazine: "London without her people would be dead indeed. Habicht finds not the clothes but the men and women who wear them; not the places, but those who live and work within the city. In the contrasting textures of skin and water, trees and hair, soft body curves against metal and stone, he traces an intricate pattern of the London heart and its restlessness."
Now you can enjoy his iconic work in a new photo book, As It Was: Frank Habicht‘s Sixties, published by Hatje Cantz. This luxurious new volume contrasts pop with tradition and provides readers with an immediate sense of the vitality of the Swinging Sixties, with all of that decade’s revolutionary aestheticism.
As It Was is Habicht’s treasure-chest of the swinging, groovy, hippie, and psychedelic Sixties in London. It offers an eye-opening contribution to the history of a country that is currently undergoing yet more social transformation. This photo book features his iconic work and many images published for the first time.
Habicht was born in Hamburg in December 1938. He began his career as a photographer in the early sixties attending the Hamburg School of Photography in 1962. He quickly became established as a freelance photographer and writer in Europe submitting works to be published in magazines including Camera Magazine, Spigelreflex Praxis, Twen, Jasmin, Esquire, Hoer Zu, Die Welt, Sunday Times (UK) and The Guardian. Habicht also gained employment working as a stills photographer for film directors Bryan Forbes, Roman Polanski and Jules Dassin (1965-71), as in-house photographer for the Playboy Club in London (1970) and as a freelance photographer for Top of the Pops (1969). These encounters certainly provided Habicht direct access to international pop idols and film stars who became subjects of his most celebrated photographs and included Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, actor/director duo Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, actors Vanessa Redgrave, Marty Feldman and Christopher Lee, director Roman Polanski and photographer Lord Lichfield.
Habicht’s images capture the uninhibited spirit of the times offering a glimpse into the heady period that still manages to arrest the imagination some forty years later. His book “Young London, Permissive Paradise”, a social document on London’s youth, was published in the late sixties. Another photographic book, “In the Sixties” (Tandem Press & Axis Publishing London 1997), juxtaposed those who achieved international fame with the unnamed, not recorded in history books. Frank says his main concern in photography is the process of communication to attempt to keep a situation alive by fusing observer and observed.
In 1981 Frank left a successful international career to reside in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, drawn to this unique country for its beauty and tranquillity. He now spends much of his time devoted to creating images that celebrate the landscape and community in and around the Bay of Islands where he lives. His two books ‘Bay of Islands Where the Sunday Grass is Greener’ an acclaimed satirical pictorial on New Zealand’s Bay of Islands with Kiki and Helme Heine and his recent Bay of Islands A Paradise Found with Bob Molloy (Totara Press, Paihia 1995) capture the fun and friendship to be found in this stunning part of New Zealand.
In October 2004 Frank exhibited his ‘Karma Sixties’ collection at the Colette Gallery in Paris.
Frank's AKL exhibition in June 2007 ‘High Tide and Green Grass’ attracted nationwide critical acclaim and New Zealand’s current affairs TV show ‘Sunday’ paid homage to his work of this immortal decade.
A party in the spirit of the ‘The Sixties’ was held in Moscow on April 18, 2008 at the exclusive Arterium Gallery to celebrate the opening of Frank Habicht’s exhibition. Paris Hilton was one of the celebrity guests. Funds were collected by the charitable foundation ‘Peace Planet’ in aid of orphaned children.
-Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland.
Frank's photographs were featured as part of 'Strange and Familiar' at the Barbican Centre, London May - July 2016
Curated by Martin Parr.
Another timely photography exhibition at the Beetles and Huxley Gallery in London examines what it means to be British. 'An Ideal for Living' collates photography from the 1920s through to modern days to look at Britain's changing attitudes to class and race. The post-war period is represented by Frank Habicht's photographs showing the spirit of the 1960s, a period when libertarian attitudes were expressed through fashion, design and political activism. The exhibition "An Ideal for Living" runs at London's foremost gallery Beetles & Huxley collating photography from the 1920's through to modern days to look at Britain's attitudes towards class and race.
"You can see the report of intuitive and spontaneous French master Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) on the coronation of king George VI in 1937. the post-World War II period is represented by photographs of German Frank Habicht (1938), the best graphic chronicler of Swinging London of the sixties.
The birth of urban tribes ‘skins’ and ‘punks’ social unrest and political divisions of two decades appear in pictures of antiracist Syd Shelton; in the story of the riots in Brixton 1981 Neil Libbert; images of workers environments Glasgow taken by the great Raymond Depardon and the series of Derek Ridgers about the birth of urban tribes of the skinheads and punks."
-Archy World News, 2016