David Bailey at the National Portrait Gallery: preview

Photographer David Bailey has spent the past two-and-a-half years sifting through five decades of work for a major retrospective. We preview four of the fabulous photos that made the cut

0

Comments

Add +

With more than 350 Vogue covers under his belt and many thousands of iconic photographs to choose from, David Bailey can be forgiven for taking his time honing the selection for his new exhibition. Even after the cull, 250 images are set to be part of the National Portrait Gallery's sparkling 'Bailey's Stardust' show - making this one of its largest photography surveys ever.

  • Mick Jagger, 1964

    © David Bailey

    What it shows Classic Bailey. This is a shot from his 1965 publication ‘Box of Pin-Ups’, a collection of 36 portraits of personalities from the arts, fashion and music scenes, including John Lennon, David Hockney, Vidal Sassoon and Rudolf Nureyev. It’s a Who’s Who of the Swinging Sixties – though Bailey claims that they were mostly mates of his and easy to get hold of.

    Why it’s significant ‘Box of Pin-Ups’ ushered in a stripped-back style and ruthless honesty in Bailey’s portraiture. Jagger pulls up his fur-trimmed hood as if to shield himself from the photographer’s gaze, but the message is: there’s nowhere to hide.

    Mick Jagger, 1964
  • Jerry Hall & Helmut Newton

    © David Bailey

    What it shows Texan bombshell Hall, by this time (1983) an item with Jagger, shows off the best legs in the business (in Cannes, of course). The quizzical-looking guy in the T-shirt is none other than Helmut Newton, the man who brought steely, fetish-driven photography to the forefront of fashion in the 1970s and 1980s in magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and French Vogue.

    Why it’s significant Deceptively casual, the shot represents a fascinating meeting between two big photographers with very distinct personalities. Bailey has said: ‘The pictures I take are simple and direct and about the person,’ while Newton famously declared: ‘Everything that is beautiful is a fake’. Oh, to be a fly on the sand in Cannes.

    Jerry Hall & Helmut Newton
  • Francis Bacon, 1983

    © David Bailey

    What it shows Britain’s greatest painter looks remarkably well-preserved for a Soho soak
    in his seventies. Bailey and Bacon had history: the artist tried to pick up young David when he was 21 years old, plying him with scotch and sodas. Bailey dubbed Bacon ‘Frankie the Pig’.

    Why it’s significant A curious meeting, this. There’s tenderness in the shot but Bacon gives off mixed signals. That raised eyebrow seems to say ‘One more scotch for the road?’

    Francis Bacon, 1983
  • Kate Moss, 2013

    © David Bailey

    What it shows A previously unexhibited image of the supermodel, taken last year during
    a shoot for Vogue. For Bailey, Moss is one of the greatest models of all time – high praise indeed from a famously testosterone-fuelled man who has photographed every big-name beauty of the past 50 years.


    Why it’s significant The cream of Leytonstone and Croydon come face-to-face – and not even Moss’s messy barnet can stand in the way of photographic genius.

    Kate Moss, 2013

Mick Jagger, 1964

© David Bailey

What it shows Classic Bailey. This is a shot from his 1965 publication ‘Box of Pin-Ups’, a collection of 36 portraits of personalities from the arts, fashion and music scenes, including John Lennon, David Hockney, Vidal Sassoon and Rudolf Nureyev. It’s a Who’s Who of the Swinging Sixties – though Bailey claims that they were mostly mates of his and easy to get hold of.

Why it’s significant ‘Box of Pin-Ups’ ushered in a stripped-back style and ruthless honesty in Bailey’s portraiture. Jagger pulls up his fur-trimmed hood as if to shield himself from the photographer’s gaze, but the message is: there’s nowhere to hide.




Users say

0 comments

Read our latest art features

'Joseph Cornell: Wanderlust' at Royal Academy of Arts: a preview

Although he never ventured beyond New York State, the American artist Joseph Cornell (1903-72) toured the world, travelled across time, encountered different cultures and even embarked on space expeditions. All through his intriguing and complex shadow boxes – glass-fronted cases containing arrangements of the objects and images he amassed. 

The Serpentine Pavilion: which is your favourite?

The task of transforming the lawn outside the Serpentine Gallery with a multi-purpose temporary Pavilion isn't an easy one. There's the pressure to think of something new, the pressure to think of something interesting and the pressure to not totally balls things up like back in 2004, when the Pavilion plans proved too advanced and too intricate to physically pull off. This year's challenge falls on the Spanish architectural duo SelgasCano, who have delivered a multi-coloured, angled Pavilion. We're asking you to pick your favourite Serpentine Pavilion from years gone bys

What to see at First Thursdays

Our pick of events for this month's evening of arty shenanigans

'Fighting History' at Tate Britain: a preview

Artists are lovers, not fighters. But, as the new Tate Britain show, 'Fighting History' proves, conflict and catastrophe are never far from their thoughts...

Read more art features