Wednesday, February 12, 2014

David Bailey

As a keen photographer, I am interested in the work of others. On my shelf, is a book I often glance through which details the techniques used by the world’s greatest photographers. Among my favourites are, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bill Brandt and Ansel Adams.  However, none of those catch my eye more than the work of David Bailey.

Bailey started photographing for British Vogue in 1960 and he shot his first Vogue cover with Jean Shrimpton in 1961. HIs pictures were stark, simple and dramatic in contrast to the stylised fashion photographs that came before him. Bailey became famous for using a plain white paper background to remove any distraction from the character of his subject.

Now, fifty years on, Bailey has been given free reign to host an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In it there are over 250 pictures ranging from his early work to later photos of his wife. The exhibition also includes those taken on his trips to Papua New Guinea, Sudan, India and Australia along with his series of pictures taken in London’s East End bars and clubs.

 david-bailey-camer_2488318k Bailey in his studio during the 60s.

Although he now has over 60 cameras in his collection, those days he worked with a Nikon F 35mm SLR on location and a Rollieflex  6x6cm TLR in the studio.

His film of choice at that time was black and white, Kodak Tri-X which he push processed to 800ASA to get the heavy grain and high contrast he desired. Later he used Ilford FP4 to get a wider tonal range and then of course colour film.

Bailey still uses film for his work but has also encompassed the world of digital photography for some of his sudies.
KateMoss_2810610k Jagger_2810594k
Kate Moss Mick Jagger

I won’t be in Britain to visit the exhibition but I may be able to pick up the book which accompanies it.

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