It is strange isn’t it that you have views on everything but you know nothing. My view of the photographer David Bailey was that he was a famous fashion photographer of the ’60s, who went on to shoot some portraits of celebrities. For example the famous photograph of Michael Caine with a cigarette.
What I had not understood was the depth of his work and his astonishing output over the years since the 1960’s.
At Christmas I was lucky enough to receive Baileys Stardust, the book that accompanied a major exhibition of his portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London in 2014.
The portraits in this book were personally selected by Bailey from his work over fifty years. These include actors, writers, musicians, politicians, film-makers, models, and artists. As well as the people he encountered on his travels to Australia, India, Sudan and Papua New Guinea.
It is uncanny how he can bring something fresh to faces that we are all familiar with. Creating something extraordinary.
As Bailey said:
“It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the extraordinary”
I have attached a documentary about the irascible but brilliant Bailey, and collated some of his portraits here
The book, Bailey’s Stardust may be about to go out of print. This version is in Spanish, but get it while you can. It is the photographs that you will want to savour.