David Bailey; Photographer
In Conversation with David Bailey and Tim Marlow from Scream on Vimeo.
David Bailey is a British photographer who made a name for himself photographing fashion in the 1960s. Along with fellow photographers,Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy he helped create the whole ’60s Swinging London’ thing. He worked for Vogue at the time. To the best of my recollection he was probably the first British photographer to become a household name – this was as much due to an advertising campaign for the Olympus Trip camera as his work with the fashion industry.
David Bailey is probably my favorite photographer to watch and listen to. He is extremely unpretentious, doesn’t filter his views for mass consumption (at least as far as I can tell) and, perhaps most importantly, says really interesting stuff – not just about photography but about art in general (he also paints) and just about any other subject.
Bailey photographs people, portraits and fashion that is what he does. Regarding fashion he says that it is never about the clothes – make the model look good and the clothes will automatically work – or words to that effect. On photographing things other than people he really doesn’t see the point. On one occasion he said that there is no point of photographing a tree – if you want a photograph of a tree buy an Ansel Adams. Easy for him to say.
This is a fun video with loads of humor and to my mind it shows Bailey at his irreverent, intelligent, comfortable in his own skin best. I don’t want to give away to much but there are several highlights, at least for me at any rate. At one point the interviewer, Tim Marlow, bizarrely states that a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, The Annunciation, is deeply flawed. Bailey has great fun with that – and in all fairness Marlow has the good sense to stop digging very quickly.
In with the banter there were a couple of really interesting points two of which stood out to me. Bailey states that the English/British really don’t ‘get’ photography, that we tend to see it all as one thing, not differentiating at all between genres, styles, or anything else. He thinks that the other European countries and the USA have a much better grasp of the art form. I think he has a point.
the conversation veers between photography, visual art and general observation and one completely non photographic observation made me sit up and that was that was that Americans love the American flag but aren’t that keen on America itself. I don’t think that I agree with him on that point but there again I’ve only been on this side of the pond for little over a decade so it is probably to early for me to form an opinion.
Here is one of the many Olympus Trip ads that made David Bailey a household name in the UK.
The David Bailey Olympus Trip TV Commercial from Glyn Evans on Vimeo.