Although documenting a subject matter that has been shot, idealised, packaged up and sold-on manifold times in the years since the Stones’ heyday, Szabo’s collection manages to bring something original to the table. Photos of the youth of the ‘60s and ‘70s usually tend to be heavily-stylised depictions of the epoch’s most beautified bohemians, caught in a pose most suiting to portray the generational stereotype of free-loving, post-modern liberation. And in doing so, they perpetuated a myth that at least has one leg to stand on.
Another earthing element to the collection is the simple variety of youths represented - from soft, soul-searching bohemians; to libertine, aggressive-looking rockers; to innocent, geeky Jagger-devotees. All are caught in the purity of their temporary existence: an iconic pose, a drug-induced stupor, a bashful dance or a vivacious whirling dervish of inexplicable, joyful self-expression.
In capturing the very real experience of the very real fans in a completely observational, non-judgemental way, Szabo succeeds in grounding the myth of an age and transmitting the eternal reality of youthful music-induced exuberance: change the clothes and the haircuts, and it could easily be a Kings of Leon concert at Glastonbury.