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David Bailey

David Bailey


David Bailey was born on 2 January 1938 in Leytonstone, East London. Aged 8 he started school and was put in the ‘silly class’ due to what he later discovered was dyslexia. He left school at fifteen and joined the Royal Air Force in 1956. Whilst posted in Singapore he bought his first camera and was inspired to be a photographer after seeing Cartier Bresson’s photograph, ‘Kashmir’. Bailey started working with fashion photographer, John French as his assistant in 1959. He left soon after to strike out his own career as a photographer and published his first portrait of Somerset Maugham for Today magazine in 1960. Soon after he began working at Vogue, where he met the model Jean Shrimpton. Discarding the rigid rules of a previous generation of portrait and fashion photographers, he channelled the energy of London's newly informal street culture into his work. In 1965 he published David Bailey’s Box of Pin-Ups which is now seen as defining an era and shaped the future of photography. Bailey’s career has been varied, and in 1966 he began to direct the first of hundreds of commercials. He has been recognised internationally for his skills as a filmmaker, and won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for his Greenpeace commercial. Bailey has exhibited worldwide, the first of his landmark exhibitions in 1971 at the National Portrait Gallery, London featuring alongside the works by David Hockney and Gerald Scarfe in the exhibition SNAP! Internationally renowned, Bailey has produced some of the most famous photographic portraits of the last five decades. He has travelled extensively, and although best known for his fashion and portraiture, his interests are varied, extending beyond photography to commercials, film, painting and sculpture.