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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Photography Book Review: Jim Lee, Arrested

We review the book accompanying a recent exhibition of Fashion Photographer legend Jim Lee at Somerset House

Written by Alia Gargum

Jim Lee Arrested courtesy of Jo Reeder
‘Aeroplane’ photograph courtesy of Jo Reeder PR, all other photography by Alia Gargum

If there is one thing I could easily spend all my money on, it’s art books. Beautifully printed, embossed, collectable items of temptation that I can never seem to have enough of; I’ve had to firmly steer myself away from the bookshop section of many a gallery in order to stop me buying everything. But, I can’t help myself, and love a gorgeously bound book that will last as resource much longer than a magazine or paperback.

Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum
Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum

Timing nicely with his latest exhibition Ammonite Press have produced Arrested, a book about the iconic photography and film work of Jim Lee, who has changed the entire way the industry worked through his 50-year career. Having pioneered fashion photography that was about more than just the consumption of clothes, this book catalogues his most well-known and rarely seen images together in a silver-edged gem of a book.

I knew of Jim Lee‘s work through his photography for Ossie Clarke and the instantly recognisable ‘Aeroplane’ image, above, and found myself recognising more of the work as I read through the book. The large-scale pages work brilliantly for the work and layout of the book, which is presented in chapters to note each stage of Jim Lee‘s career. There is charming insight into Jim Lee‘s life and career from former Style Editor of Harpers & Queen, Peter York, and great quotes from the artist himself, such as “..some of my most successful early photographs were created with a very young fashion editor – only twenty-one – who had a surprisingly direct manner and great style: Anna Wintour…”. Besides working with Anna Wintour, Lee also collaborated with big-name designers such as Yves St Laurent, Gianni Versace and of course Ossie Clark, with work appearing in Elle, the Sunday Times magazine, Harpers & Queen and the New York Times.

Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum
Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum

Jim Lee also had an incredible film career, producing over 400 distinctive advertising campaigns for big-name brands like Levi’s, Elizabeth Arden, Esso and British Airways. He also produced a number of films and directed the 1992 full-length feature Losing Track, starring Alan Bates, which echoed the difficult relationship he shared with his own father.

Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum
Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum

What I love most about Jim Lee’s work is the stories behind the always beautiful imagery, and the fact that he was able to transfer this feel successfully to film is a testimony to his success. He still collaborates on a number of projects, and has his work displayed in a number of galleries, recently including Somerset House. As an illustrator I wasn’t sure that I would enjoy this book, but have found this collection of imagery from the 1960′s through to modern day not just inspiring but most definitely value for money. Having something a bit different and beautifully made as a part of my reference library makes a change from the tons of saved magazines, blogs and online mood boards. I’m a fan.

Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum
Jim Lee Arrested by Alia Gargum

Jim Lee- Arrested is available to purchase online through Ammonite Press and in-store at Harrods, Selfridges and other major book retailers.

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