“I was surrounded by strong women so it had never even occurred to me that women were anything other than equal to men.”
“Anybody can be a great photographer if they zoom in enough on what they love.”
— David Bailey
David Bailey rocked the fashion world and took photography and Vogue magazine to new heights. Some of his work may seem antiquated by today’s standards, but I think that misses the point: He pushed photography forward, especially fashion photography, from a stiff and formal look to what we see today: a more relaxed and creative endeavour. He expanded the horizons for others to follow.
His images are racy, sexy, experimental and fun. He took fashion photography from formal into new realms.
In this post, I explore the old but wonderful book David Bailey: Chasing Rainbows. (2001)
As a Cockney, like yours truly, he pushes beyond the boundaries of ‘acceptable’ to create a new vision. Again, I think we need to view his work in context. The stiff upper lip attitudes of post-war Britain were washed away by photographers like David Bailey and Norman Parkinson.
Clearly, like Parkinson, Bailey focused on ‘beauty’. Glamour, fashion and celebrity are bread and butter here. Certainly the world is harsh, brutal and at times, ugly, but to leave it at that dismisses the sexy, fun and creative world we live in. His images are decanant and embrace the times of change from fuddy-duddy to sensual.
Admittedly, he was a scoundrel, even a misogynistic wanker, but where do you draw the line between the artist and the art? We could throw Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Pablo Picasso onto the pyre. Possibly. I am not defending nor admiring him. I just like his photos.
Best wishes until next time,