Do You Know Who That Is? …..David Bailey - A ZANI Introduction

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London's very own East End born David Bailey, is arguably one of the most famous commercial photographers to date. Bailey’s career and personal life both seemed to thrive during the iconic Swinging Sixties.
Bailey started in a series of dead end jobs, until after he served his call up for the Royal Air Force. At this point he began to pursue a career in photography, and purchased his first camera, a gorgeous Canon rangefinder. With his pitiful attendance school record he was unable to obtain a place at university so he managed to become a second assistant to David Ollins. Shortly after he become an assistant to John French. Learning his skills from such mentors, he soon became the most in demand photographer of that decade. David Bailey quickly got into the good books of Vogue, and from that he pioneered a new photographic style and concept.

Mixing with fashion, and experimental composition he helped launch his then girlfriend Jean Shrimpton’s career. Shrimpton reflected, "I think our success was mainly down to timing. Everyone had been very elegant and I was a mongrel by comparison and he was as well - he portrayed me as a natural, rather scruffy girl… So I think we made it more human and accessible."

Bailey reflected on why he loved photographing Shrimpton: “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”.

Bailey’s mother was always an inspiration to him. As he saw her trying on a Dior coat in Selfridges as a child, "I remember her swirling around against the back light, and I thought: 'My God, it's so beautiful'. It was sort of back lit, and I didn't know what back lit was in those days.”

‘I think London’s great. We got all that freedom in the ’60s and now the trouble is we don’t have the responsibility to enjoy that freedom.’

Bailey was one of the first people to become a celebrity in his own right, by enhancing the way the media portrayed the youth. He set up his own studio and began to make the youth want to be themselves; with every personality he photographed he became almost as famous as them.

Mary Quant, who was also a huge part of the swinging sixties youth movement: “No fashion picture had ever been taken like that before. It was a great slap of excitement.”

His style of framing caused controversy at first, but after a while the way he uses unusual techniques of portraits, experimented with texture, composition and body expression all helped to pave the way for the masses of photographers since: “I've always tried to do pictures that don't date. I always go for simplicity”

Bailey still has a hugely successful career and has photographed everyone from Oasis to The Beatles, Marianne Faithfull to Naomi Campbell.

David Bailey although renowned for his high profile string of beautiful women, has still managed to maintain a long-standing career and has even branched into directing. Today he is well-renowned for his offset muses, but his career is still going from strength to strength. Bailey still remains top in the fashion and need to know celebrity world.

Read 1458 times Last modified on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 12:07
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