David Bailey (photographer)


David Royston Bailey (born 2 January 1938) is an English fashion and portrait photographer.

Early life

David Bailey was born at in , to Herbert Bailey, a tailor's cutter, and his wife, Gladys a machinist. From the age of three he lived in .Passed/Failed: An education in the life of David Bailey, photographer
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Bailey developed a love of natural history, and this led him into photography. As he had undiagnosed , he experienced problems at school. He attended a private school, ''Clark's College'' in , where he says they taught him less than the more basic council school. As well as dyslexia he also has the motor skill disorder dyspraxia (). 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 offices of the '. He raced through a series of dead end jobs, before his call up for in 1956, serving with the in Singapore in 1957. The appropriation of his trumpet forced him to consider other creative outlets, and he bought a camera. He was in August 1958, and determined to pursue a career in photography, he bought a rangefinder camera. Unable to obtain a place at the because of his school record, he became a second assistant to , 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 .

Professional career

In 1959, Bailey became a photographic assistant at the John French studio, and in May 1960, he was a photographer for 's Studio Five, before being contracted as a fashion photographer for British ' magazine later that year. He also undertook a large amount of freelance work.David Bailey: Godfather of Cool
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Along with and , Bailey captured and helped create the '' of the 1960s: a culture of fashion and celebrity chic. The three photographers socialised with actors, musicians and , and found themselves elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were the first real celebrity photographers, named by "the Black Trinity". The film ' (1966), directed by , depicts the life of a London fashion photographer who is played by , whose character was inspired by Bailey. The "Swinging London" scene was aptly reflected in his ''Box of Pin-Ups'' (1964): a box of poster-prints of 1960s celebrities including , , , , , , and gangsters, the . The ''Box'' was an unusual and unique commercial release. It reflected the changing status of the photographer that one could sell a collection of prints in this way. Strong objection to the presence of the Krays by fellow photographer, , was the major reason no American edition of the "Box" was released, and that a second British edition was not issued. The record sale for a copy of 'Box of Pin-Ups' is reported as "north of £20,000". At ''Vogue'' Bailey was shooting covers within months, and, at the height of his productivity, he shot 800 pages of ''Vogue'' editorial in one year. , a former girlfriend, described him as "the king lion on the Savannah: incredibly attractive, with a dangerous vibe. He was the electricity, the brightest, most powerful, most talented, most energetic force at the magazine". American ''Vogue''s creative director , then a model herself, said "It was the Sixties, it was a raving time, and Bailey was unbelievably good-looking. He was everything that you wanted him to be – like the Beatles but accessible – and when he went on the market everyone went in. We were all killing ourselves to be his model, although he hooked up with pretty quickly". Of model , Bailey said: Since 1966, Bailey has also directed several television commercials and . From 1968 to 1971 he directed and produced TV documentaries titled ''Beaton, Warhol'' and ''Visconti''. As well as fashion photography, Bailey photographed album sleeve art for musicians including and . One of Bailey's most famous works depicts the Rolling Stones including , 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 ' to shoot publicity photos of for his upcoming album '. Stevens, who is now known as maintains that he disliked having his photo on the cover of his albums, as had previously been the case, although he allowed Bailey's photographs to be placed on the inner sleeve of the album. In 1972, rock singer was photographed by Bailey for ''Vogue'' magazine, almost naked apart from a snake. Cooper used Bailey the following year to shoot for the group's chart topping 'Billion Dollar Babies' album. The shoot included a baby wearing shocking eye makeup and, supposedly, one billion dollars in cash requiring the shoot to be under armed guard. In 1976, Bailey published ' together with David Litchfield. In 1985, Bailey was photographing stars at the concert at Wembley Stadium. As he recalled later: "The atmosphere on the day was great. At one point I got a tap on my shoulder and spun round. Suddenly there was a big tongue down my throat! It was ." In 1992, Bailey directed the BBC drama ''Who Dealt?'' starring , story by Ring Lardner. In 1995 he directed and wrote the South Bank Film ''The Lady is a Tramp'' featuring his wife Catherine Bailey. In 1998 he directed a documentary with Ginger Television Production, ''Models Close Up'', commissioned by Channel 4 Television. In 2012, the BBC made a film of the story of his 1962 New York photoshoot with , entitled ''We'll Take Manhattan'', starring as Bailey. In October 2013, Bailey took part in Art Wars at the curated by . The artist was issued with a stormtrooper helmet, which he transformed into a work of art. Proceeds went to the Missing Tom Fund set up by Ben Moore to find his brother Tom who has been missing for over ten years. The work was also shown on the Regents Park platform as part of Regents Park. In October 2020 Bailey's Memoir "Look Again" in co-operation with author James Fox was published by Macmillan Books a review on his life and work.


Bailey began working with fashion brand in the late 1950s when landed the role of designer. After working alongside other fashion photographers such as the late , Bailey was officially commissioned by in 1962. His first shoot in New York City was of young model , who wore a range of Jaeger and clothing, including a camel suit with a green blouse and a suede coat worn with kitten heels. The shoot was titled 'Young Idea Goes West'. After 53 years Bailey returned to Jaeger to shoot their AW15 campaign. As menswear subject; James Penfold modelled tailored tweed blazers and a camel coat. Also on the shoot was model, philanthropist and film director along with GQ magazine's most stylish male 2003, Martin Gardner.


* 2001: , as part of . * 2005: Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS), . * 2016: Lifetime Achievement award, Infinity Awards, , New York.

Painting and sculpture

Bailey paints and sculpts. Some of his sculptures were shown in London in 2010, and paintings and mixed media works were shown in October 2011.

In popular culture

In the 1970s Bailey lost some equipment in a robbery and replaced it with the new equipment which was substantially smaller and lighter than contemporary competitors' equipment. He then appeared in advertising promoting the 35 mm camera. He subsequently appeared in a series of UK TV commercials for the camera.

Personal life

Bailey has been married four times: in 1960 to Rosemary Bramble; in 1965 to the actress (divorced 1972); in 1975 to American fashion model and writer ; and in 1986 to the model Catherine Dyer (born 20 July 1961), to whom he remains married. He is a long-time vegetarian and refrains from drinking alcohol. Bailey is an art-lover with a long-held passion for the works of . His company address is in London; his wife and their photographer son Fenton Fox Bailey are directors. The family maintain a home on Dartmoor, near Plymouth. His youngest son b.June 1994 Sascha Taday Bailey, is an art curator. Bailey was diagnosed with in about 2018, but continued to work, and said in 2021 that it was not affecting his work although he only had three months' memory.


* ''Box of Pin-Ups'', 1964 * ''Goodbye Baby & Amen'', 1969, 2017 * ''Warhol'', 1974 * ''Beady Minces'', 1974 * ''Papua New Guinea'', 1975 * ''Mixed Moments'', 1976 * ''Trouble and Strife'', 1980 * ''Mrs. David Bailey'', 1980 * ''Bailey NW1'', 1982 * ''Black & White Memories'', 1983 * ''Nudes 1981–1984'', 1984 * ''Imagine'', 1985 * ''If We Shadows'', 2001 * ''The Lady is a Tramp'', 1995 * ''Rock & Roll Heroes'', 1997 * ''Archive One'', 1999 (also titled ''The Birth of the Cool'' for USA) * ''Chasing Rainbows'', 2001 * ''Art of Violence'', Kate Kray & David Bailey, 2003 (also titled ''Diamond Geezers'') * ''Bailey/Rankin Down Under'', 2003 * ''Archive Two: Locations'', 2003 * ''Bailey's Democracy'', 2005 * ''Havana'', 2006 * ''NY JS DB 62'', 2007 * ''Pictures That Mark Can Do'', 2007 * ''Is That So Kid'', 2008 * ''David Bailey: 8 Minutes: Hirst & Bailey'', 2009 With * ''EYE'', 2009 * ''Flowers, Skulls, Contacts'', 2010 * ''British Heroes in Afghanistan'', 2010 * ''The David Bailey SUMO'', 2019 * "Look Again", 2020


* National Portrait Gallery 1971 * One Man Retrospective Victoria & Albert Museum 1983 * International Center of Photography (ICP) NY 1984 * Curator "Shots of Style" Victoria & Albert Museum 1985 * Pictures of Sudan for Band Aid at The Institute for Contemporary Arts (ICA) *1985 * Auction at Sotheby's for Live Aid Concert for Band Aid 1985 * Bailey Now! Royal Photographic Society in Bath 1989 * Numerous Exhibitions at Hamiltons Gallery, London. 1989 to now * Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles 1990 * Camerawork Photogallerie, Berlin. 1997 * Carla Sozzani. Milan. 1997 * A Gallery for Fine Photography, New Orleans. 1998 * Touring exhibition "Birth of the Cool" 1957–1969 & contemporary work * Barbican Art Gallery, London – 1999 * National Museum of Film, Photography & Television, Bradford. 1999–2000 * Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden. 2000 * City Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland 2000 * Modern Art Museum, The Dean Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh 2001 * Proud Gallery London Bailey /Rankin Down Under * Gagosian Gallery. Joint with Damien Hirst "14 Stations of the Cross" 2004 * Gagosian Gallery. Artists by David Bailey. 2004 * Democracy. Faggionato Fine Arts 2005 * Havana. Faggionato Fine Arts 2006 * Pop Art Gagosian London 2007 * Galeria Hilario Galguera Mexico 2007 * National Portrait Gallery – Beatles to Bowie 2009 * Bonhams, London. Pure Sixties Pure Bailey 2010 * Pangolin London. Sculpture + 2010 * The Stockdale Effect, , London 2010 * ''David Bailey's East End.'' Compressor House, London, 2012. * David Bailey's ''East End Faces'' London February/May 2013 * ''Bailey's Stardust'', National Portrait Gallery, London 2014 * ''Bailey's Stardust'', National Gallery, Edinburgh 2015 * ''David Bailey Stardust'', PAC – Padiglione di Arte Contemporanea, Milano (Italy) 2015


External links

* *

2000 interview (text and video)

2006 CNN interview (text and video)

David Bailey British Vogue Covers Archive
* Francis Hodgson,
David Bailey: Still troubling after all these years
{{DEFAULTSORT:Bailey, David People with dyslexia