Bailey, David Royston

Bailey David Royston (1938). English photographer. He was self-taught and became interested in photography while in the army.

Bailey

Bailey David Royston (1938). English photographer. He was born on January 2, 1938 in a poor London neighborhood. Bailey, a self-taught photographer, became interested in photography while in the army, fascinated by a photo by Henri Cartier Bresson. At the end of the war he began to work as an assistant to the fashion photographer John French, who chronicled the taste of the high bourgeoisie. When barely 22, David, who had already experienced the anxieties of the generation of “angry young men” who were fans of jazz (he is a good trumpet player) and the theater of John Osborne, was discovered by Vogue. It was the 1960s when Vogue hired him.

Bailey
Queen Elizabeth II by Bailey.

Bailey also worked freelance for Elle, Glamour, the Daily Express, the Sunday Times, and the Daily Telegraph. He took his photos with the same spontaneity with which he lived in the swinging London of the time, surrounded by fame, by the friendship of rock stars, and by the love of very beautiful women such as Catherine Deneuve, who he married in 1967 and would be the second of his four wives. All this inspired Michelangelo Antonioni in his film Blow Up. In fact the character of the photographer played by David Hemmings is based on him and on John Cowan.

His nonchalance and his rapid style made him part of the counter-culture.

With his friends Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, he was a member of The Terrible Three. His pictures, with their great freshness of execution and extraordinary spontaneity, were very much influenced by film, especially by the Nouvelle Vague.

Bailey
Jonny Depp by Bailey, 1995.

Publications and awards

Bailey always worked with a single model, first Jean Shrimpton and then Marie Helvin. He always places great emphasis on the relationship between the dress and the person wearing it. He published several books, including David Bailey’s Box of Pin-Ups (1965), Goodbye Baby and Amen (1969), David Bailey’s Trouble and Strife (1980), If We Shadows (1989), The Lady Is A Tramp (1995), Birth of the Cool (1999), and Chasing Rainbows (2000). Moreover, he made two films, one about Cecil Beaton (1971), and one about Andy Warhol (1973). He has had many exhibits all over the world, including the great anthological retrospective show at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum in 1984. He is an honorary member of the Royal Photographic Society.

Furthermore he is also a serious collector. Among his favorites find Man Ray, Roger Fenton and Henry Fox Talbot, the Englishman considered, for his calotypes, one of the inventors of photography.

In 2001 he was awarded the Order of the British, an order of chivalry established by King George V on 4 June 1917.

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