“We were so young. I don’t think Bailey or anyone had any idea how important the work we were doing was…we were just kids really, I was 18 when I first started working with Bailey. I met him on the roof of Vogue”-Jean Shrimpton
English portrait and fashion photographer David Bailey was born on this day January 2, 1938 in Essex, England. His photographic career began in 1959 when he landed an assistant photography job at the John French Studio. By 1960, he had become a photographer for John Cole’s Studio Five, and later that year, for British Vogue magazine.
“I photographed women the way I saw them on the streets. People could identify with Jean because I didn’t make her look like a stuffed shop mannequin. Suddenly she was someone you could touch, or maybe even take to bed”–David Bailey
Bailey is known for capturing the essence of 1960’s ‘Swinging London,’ as well as aiding in its creation. In fact, Bailey was the inspiration for the main character for the 1966 film “Blow-Up” starring David Hemmings and directed by Michelangelo Antonioni.
Many of his best shots of the London 60’s scene were released in his 1964 “Box of Pin-Ups,” a box of 36 poster prints featuring photos of musicians John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and Mick Jagger, artists David Hockney and Andy Warhol, actors Michael Caine and Terence Stamp, world-renowned model Jean Shrimpton (and Bailey’s fiancée between 1961 and 1964), photographer Cecil Beaton, ballet dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev, and East End gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray, among others.
Each photo in “Box of Pin-Ups” was accompanied by a note by writer Francis Wyndham. The collection was published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson.
Bailey’s great works span a number of decades, and he still works with his wife and their photographer son Fenton Fox Bailey in London.