Photographer – David Bailey.

David Bailey

My legacy? Oh I don’t know. I don’t really care. I’ll be dead anyway, so it won’t make any difference [laughs]. I’m not religious, as you can gather. I think when you’re dead, you’re dead, mate. That’s it. It’s all gone!

– David Bailey.

Born 2nd of January 1938 in East London and moved to East Ham when he was 3. Bailey had a natural love for natural history which led him into doing photography and struggled with undiagnosed dyslexia that caused him many problems in school. As well as dyslexia Bailey has dyspraxia.

In one year Bailey claimed to have only attended 33 times and dropped out at the age of 15. Going 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 look at other creative outlets which led to him buying a Rolleiflex camera.

Rolleiflex Camera.

Bailey was Demobbed in 1958 and decided to pursue a career in photography. Bailey then brought a Canon rangefinder camera. He applied to the London College of Printing but couldn’t obtain a place due to his school records. Bailey then went on to become a second assistant to David Ollins and managed to be called to an interview with a photographer named John French.

John French

Bailey became a photographic assistant at the John French studio and in may 1960 he became a photographer for John Cole’s Studio Five which then led into him being contracted as a fashion photographer for the British vogue magazine. Here are some examples of his photography:

Along with Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, Bailey captured and helped create the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960’s: a culture of fashion and celebrity chic. The three photographers worked with and spoke to actors, musicians and royalty, eventually finding themselves elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were the first real celebrity photographers, named by Norman Parkinson “the Black Trinity.”

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