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David Bailey

 

David Royston Bailey CBE (born 2 January 1938) is an English photographer..  He was born in Leytonstone, but his family were forced to move to Heigham Road, East Ham when a World War II bomb destroyed their home. Bailey was three years old, and this is where he and Thelma, his younger sister, were raised by their father Herbert, a tailor’s cutter, and his wife, Gladys. Herbert left the family, and Gladys took work as a machinist.

Bailey developed a love of natural history, and this led him into photography. Suffering from undiagnosed dyslexia, he experienced problems at school. He attended a private school, Clark’s College in Ilford, where he says they taught him less than the more basic council school.

‘We were posh East End, if that’s possible, but I had cardboard in my shoes and was at the social bottom of this cheap private school; some of the parents had tobacconist’s shops, which was a bit posher.’

In one school year, he claims he only attended 33 times. He left school on his fifteenth birthday, to become a copy boy at the Fleet Street offices of the Yorkshire Post. He raced through a series of dead end jobs, before his call up for National Service in 1956, serving with the Royal Air Force in Singapore in 1957. The appropriation of his trumpet forced him to consider other creative outlets, and he bought a Rolleiflex.

He was demobbed in August 1958, and determined to pursue a career in photography, he purchased a Canon Rangefinder. Unable to obtain a place at the London College of Printing, because of his school record, he became a second assistant to David Ollins, in Charlotte Mews. He earned £3 10s (£3.50) a week, and acted as studio dogsbody. He was delighted to be called to an interview with photographer John French.

In 1959 he became a photographic assistant at the John French studio, and in May 1960, he was a photographer for John Cole’s Studio Five before being contracted as a fashion photographer for British Vogue magazine later that year.[2][page needed] He also undertook a large amount of freelance work.

Along with Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, he captured and helped create the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960s: a culture of high fashion and celebrity chic. The three photographers socialised with actors, musicians and royalty, and found themselves elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were the first real celebrity photographers. The film Blowup (1966), directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, concerns the work and sexual habits of a London fashion photographer played by David Hemmings and is largely based on Bailey.

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

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 fellow photographer Lord Snowdon was the major reason no American edition of the “Box” ever appeared, nor a British second edition issued.)

As well as fashion photography, Bailey has been responsible for record album sleeve art for performers including The Rolling Stones and Marianne Faithfull. 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.

Bailey was hired in 1970 by Island Records’ Chris Blackwell to shoot publicity photos of Cat Stevens for his upcoming album Tea for the Tillerman, in 1970. Stevens, (now known as Yusuf Islam) maintans that he disliked having his photo on the cover of his albums, as had previously been the case. Looking back, he described it as the beginning of his “poster pin-up celebrity phase”, although he gave consent to allow Bailey’s photographs to be placed on the inner sleeve of the album.

Bailey has also directed several television commercials and documentaries.  In 1976, Bailey published Ritz Newspaper together with David Litchfield.  Bailey was awarded the CBE in 2001.

In 2005, he was involved in a feature titled “British Rule” for GQ, 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 & 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. He has worked with Manchester band Oasis, boxer Naseem Hamed and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Bailey has been married four times: in 1960 to Rosemary Bramble; in 1965 to the actress Catherine Deneuve (divorced 1972); in 1975 to the model Marie Helvin; and in 1986 to the model Catherine Dyer (b. 20 July 1961), to whom he remains married. He has not eaten mammals from an early age,  refrains from drinking alcohol and does not exercise. He is an art-lover with a long-held passion for the works of Picasso.

Now 72, he works seven days a week.  “I don’t know what else to do,” he said when asked why he continued to do so. “It’s not work anyway,” he added of his pursuit, with which he said he had “a love-hate relationship”.The show, which contains prints of some of his most famous photographs, such as of Sir Michael Caine, Mick Jagger and Jean Shrimpton, is to mark 50 years since he started at Vogue.He once said of the job: “‘When Vogue offered to pay me to photograph beautiful women all day I thought I was on a dream boat.”  But he now claims that neither clothes nor women were his inspiration.  “I’ve got no interest in frocks, and it wasn’t the girls either,” he said. “It was the chance to be creative.”He was surprised by his professional longevity.  “I didn’t know I was going to live for 50 years,” he remarked. “It has come as a shock.”

More images at iamthechildofthemoon

Articles at the Telegraph

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