David Bailey is an English fashion photographer best known for his images of celebrities, models, and musicians. Bailey’s fashion work and celebrity portraiture, characterised by stark backgrounds and dramatic lighting effects, transformed British fashion and celebrity photography from chic but reserved stylisation to something more youthful and direct. His work reflects the 1960s British cultural trend of breaking down antiquated and rigid class barriers by injecting a working-class or “punk” look into both clothing and artistic products.
He and his friends, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, were together dubbed the “Black Trinity” by elder rival Norman Parkinson, and represented the new, young, working-class face of fashion photography. In 1965, he published his first photography book Box of Pin-Ups, a collection of black-and-white images portraying Mick Jagger, The Beatles, Twiggy, and Andy Warhol, along with several other celebrity figures.
Bailey himself became a celebrity who epitomised “swinging London” and was known for his affairs with several celebrated women, among them the model Jean Shrimpton and the actress Catherine Deneuve. He is thought to have inspired the role of the photographer, Thomas, in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film Blow-up (1966).
Bailey also directed television commercials and produced a number of books and documentary films. His photographs are held in the collections of the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Bailey currently lives and works in London, United Kingdom.