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David Bailey CBE (born 1938)

David Bailey, CBE (born 1938)

David Bailey has become synonymous with London during the 1960s – he was a photographer who was as famous as his subjects and, with a voracious appetite for work, parties and his female sitters, he became the principal inspiration for the photographer lead in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film, 'Blow-Up' (1966). He and his friends, Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, were together dubbed the ‘Black Trinity’ by elder rival Norman Parkinson, and represented the young, working-class, heterosexual new face of fashion photography.

David Bailey was born in Leytonstone, East London, on 2 January 1938 into a traditional, working class family, and experienced a typical wartime childhood. After leaving school at fifteen, he struggled to find a career until he was demobbed from National Service in 1958 and settled on photography. Bailey’s first break was securing an assistant’s job at the studio of John French, the well-known fashion photographer. Later that year he was contracted to '
Vogue' magazine, and his star soon began to rise.

Bailey’s reputation was backed up by a raw talent for photography that incorporated stark white backgrounds, uncompromising crops, and striking poses.

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