David Bailey

Written by
Kevin LJ, Professional Photographer

Reviewed by
Chris Johnson, TPG Editor

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About David Bailey

Nationality: British

Born: January 2, 1038

David Bailey is an English photographer most well known for his early fashion and portrait photography from the 1960s.

Dropping out of high school, Bailey joined the airforce where he developed an interest in photography. This was largely due to the influence of photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Bailey began his professional career as an assistant at the John French studio in 1959. After a short time there, he contracted with British Vogue magazine, where he quickly began producing cover images. Along with photographers Terance Donovan and Brian Duffy, Bailey reportedly helped create the Swinging Sixties scene in London. 

The trio was somewhat infamous among other photographers. With Norman Parkinson calling them the 'Black Trinity.' They were well-known among popular actors, musicians, and royalty. This elevated them to celebrity status.

Most of Bailey's photographs are celebrity portraits. His book documenting the gentrification of London neighborhoods is a noteworthy example of his diversity.

Bailey produced cover photographs for albums by many famous bands and musicians. These include Alice Cooper's 'Billion Dollar Babies, Cat Steven's 'Tea for the Tillerman,' and 'Goat Head Soup,' by the Rolling Stones. 

His work is not limited to photography. David Bailey worked as director of many television commercials and documentaries. Between 1968 and 1971, he produced and directed the documentaries Beaton, Warhol, and Visconti. In the classic 1966 movie, Blow Up, Bailey was the inspiration for the lead character who played a London fashion photographer.

There are many books published of Bailey's photographs, and in 2020 Macmillan Books published his memoir, "Look Again."


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