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David Bailey

British, b. 1938

At 15, the London-born David Bailey was jazz mad and Picasso loving but, being a dyslexic cockney, was booted out of school. Escape from gritty East London seemed unlikely until he picked up a Rolleiflex during his stint in the National Service. Three years later, in 1960, he was under contract at British Vogue.

Prodigiously talented, Bailey was also wildly charismatic and uncommonly pretty, a high-octane amalgam that no doubt fueled his meteoric rise. Soon, he was chronicling, and surfing, the cultural tsunami that transformed London in the Swinging Sixties, when young creatives from music, fashion, advertising, theater, film, TV and journalism toppled the British establishment to become the new royalty.

This was the moment when the seeds of celebrity culture were sown. Bailey snapped all these revolutionary aristos: John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, Tom Stoppard and David Hockney. Each and every one looks impossibly dewy and fresh and brims with an entirely modern derring-do.

So, too, do “the beautiful birds,” as Bailey called the alluring models and actresses who defined that decade: the exquisite Jean “Shrimp” Shrimpton, Twiggy, Penelope Tree, Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve. A number of them became his lovers, Deneuve his wife (he’s had four), for a time.

It was a wild ride for an East End lad and literally the stuff of movies. Bailey was the inspiration for the prowling fashion photographer Thomas, played by pretty boy David Hemmings, in one of the iconic films of that era, Antonioni’s Blowup.

But despite his playboy persona and lucrative work in fashion advertising, Bailey has always possessed real psychological depth and artistic ambition. He can snap like few others. His closest peer in spontaneity, insight and cool was Richard Avedon. Both preferred a white backdrop, strong lighting and a tight focus to capture that rare telling moment.

Someone shot with eyes shut is not an accident with Bailey but a revelation. To this day, he can’t explain how he works his magic, although he does liken it to shamanic conjuring. He makes no secret that he spends most of his time gabbing with his subject — he’s curious about everyone. Sometimes, the chatter is a seduction; occasionally, it becomes good-naturedly pugilistic. And then, in mere moments, the individual is sized and seized by his camera.

Browse David Bailey's revolutionary portraiture and fashion photography on 1stDibs.

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Creator: David Bailey
David Bailey, NY JS DB 62, Signed
By David Bailey
Located in London, GB
Signed first edition, published by Steidl, 2007. NY JS DB 62 compiles photographs taken by David Bailey, one of the most successful British fashion and portrait photographers of his...
Category

Early 2000s German Modern David Bailey

Materials

Paper

David Bailey "The Naked Eye", 1987
By David Bailey
Located in London, GB
David Bailey. The Naked Eye. Barrie & Jenkins, London 1987. 1st Edition A book of nude images from the history of photography brilliantly curated by David Bailey. The images range ...
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Late 20th Century English Modern David Bailey

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David Bailey & Anjelica Huston ‘Is That So Kid’ Book 'Signed'
By David Bailey
Located in London, GB
Signed first edition, published by Steidl, 2008 Anjelica Huston's indefinable cinematic look, this is what happens when an icon photographs an icon. A photographic collaboration bet...
Category

Late 20th Century German David Bailey

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David Bailey, Pictures That Mark Can Do, 'Signed'
By David Bailey
Located in London, GB
Signed first edition, published by Steidl Publishers, 2007. Despite being a master in his medium, British photographer David Bailey, acknowledges the democratic nature of photogra...
Category

Late 20th Century German David Bailey

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David Bailey furniture for sale on 1stDibs

David Bailey furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of paper and designed with extraordinary care. In our David Bailey collection, there are many options to choose from, although black editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 4 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many of the original furniture by David Bailey were created in Europe during the 20th century in modern style. Many customers also consider furniture by Deru, Mulberry and Gered Mankowitz if you are looking for additional options. Prices for David Bailey furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. 1stDibs's price starts at $88 and tops out at $650, while pieces like these can sell for $324 on average.

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