David Bailey  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

David Bailey (born January 2, 1938 in Leytonstone, London) is a celebrated and famous English photographer. In the 1966 film Blowup the character of the London fashion photographer was largely based on Bailey.

Professional career

In 1959 he became a photographic assistant at the John French studio before being contracted as a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine in 1960. He also did a large amount of freelance work.

Along with Terence Donovan, he captured, and in many ways helped create the Swinging London of the 1960s: a culture of high fashion and celebrity chic. Both photographers socialised with actors, musicians and royalty, and found themselves elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were the first real celebrity photographers.

Of Supermodel Jean Shrimpton, Bailey said
"She was magic and the camera loved her too. In a way she was the cheapest model in the world - you only needed to shoot half a roll of film and then you had it. "She had the knack of having her hand in the right place, she knew where the light was, she was just a natural."

The Swinging London scene was aptly reflected in his Box of Pin-Ups (1964): a box of poster-prints of 1960s celebrities and socialites including Terence Stamp, The Beatles, and notorious East End gangsters the Kray twins (see photo).

The box was an unusual and unique commercial release, and it reflected the changing status of the photographer that one could sell a collection of prints in this way. (The strong objection to the presence of the Krays on the part of Lord Snowdon was the major reason no American edition of the "Box" ever appeared, nor a British second edition issued.)

One of the most notable points about the portraits within the box is that Bailey cut off the tops of the subject's head or cropped in closer than most traditional portrait photographers would have done at the time. This gave an impression that the pictures were bigger than they actually are, and has since become a common practice in portrait and fashion photography.

In 1966, the movie Blowup was made, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The film concerned itself with the work (and sexual perks) of a London fashion photographer played by David Hemmings and was largely based on Bailey.

As well as fashion photography, Bailey has been responsible for record album sleeve art, for performers including The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull. He has also directed several television commercials and documentaries.

One of Bailey's most famous works depicts the Rolling Stones. It features Brian Jones, who drowned in 1969 while under the influence of drink and drugs. He is seen standing slightly apart from the rest of the group.

In 1976, Bailey published Ritz Newspaper together with David Litchfield.

Bailey was awarded the CBE in 2001. and has worked with Manchester band Oasis, boxer Naseem Hamed and Supermodel Naomi Campbell.

In 2005, he was involved in a feature titled "British Rule" for GQ magazine, charting the British influence on rock n' roll, photographing several artists including Paul Weller, Jarvis Cocker, Razorlight, Brian Eno, M.I.A., Ian Brown, The Futureheads, Belle and Sebastian, Damon Albarn, Dizzee Rascal, Kaiser Chiefs, Robyn Hitchcock, Super Furry Animals, and Colin Blunstone for the spread.

He maintains that his style of photography remains the same.
"I've always tried to do pictures that don't date. I always go for simplicity,"
 — David Bailey.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "David Bailey" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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