July 10 2011: Photograph of a Man Drinking, Possibly in a Mediterranean Setting (1965)

There’s something hugely compelling about the composition of this snapshot, which a stamp on the back fixes to the date of 28 June 1965, though whether that’s for the taking or the developing of the image isn’t entirely clear: I’d assume the latter. The three figures in the foreground, a dynamically posed drinking man, his head tipped back, the latin-featured woman watching him and the older lady looking right, away from the main grouping, feels unstable yet almost perfectly balanced. Part of that sense of symmetry may relate also to the three figures glimpsed in the background, whose own gazes form a similar compositional pattern, albeit partially mirrored, to that seen in the foreground. It’s an entirely anonymous snapshot, but one whose elements combine in a way more often associated with named photographers like Henri Cartier Bresson than random snapshots taken (at a guess) on holiday somewhere in Greece, Spain or the Mediterranean just ahead of the big expansion in air-tours and package holidays to these destinations from the UK towards the end of the decade.

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