David Bailey and the 60s

The 1960s, David Bailey tells us in his new autobiography, were over around 1965. Calendars might say otherwise. But it does have a sound of truth, at least when it comes to the mod, monochrome, bespoke version of the '60s Swinging London era. Bailey should know, after all. He modestly claims to have invented the decade.

 

David Bailey: Look again

David Bailey: Look again

His trip to New York with model Jean Shrimpton for a Vogue shoot in 1962 took on some of the legendary qualities of Lenin's arrival at Finland's train station: a moment that ushered in a revolution.

* It's possible to overstate how innovative her technique was - Vogue exists to chronicle trends, rarely to define them - but its impact has been historic. Previously, the magazine's pages were dominated by scenic shoots in which haughty models took on common poses such as "catching a butterfly" and "hailing a cab".

In contrast, Bailey's photos of Shrimpton showed her in naturalistic settings on grainy 35mm film. They aligned Vogue with a new general spirit in culture - in the guerrilla shooting style of French New Wave filmmakers; in the seriousness of the realism of the kitchen sink; and especially in the 'Young Idea', a nebulous term which would mature in a decade defined by youth. The clothes were almost incidental. It was, as he asserts more than once in this book, of the young girl.

 

David Bailey: Look again

David Bailey: Look again

 

Bailey approached fashion photography as a form of portraiture, while his portraits defined fashion. Many of those people were her friends (Mick Jagger, Terence Stamp, Michael Caine), many more her lovers (Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve, Penelope Tree), all photographed in her distinctive, contrasting style against a solid white background.

(It wasn't, he tries to point out, by Richard Avedon, but was developed by his mentor John French to get a bigger impact on Daily Express newsprint.) Raw, unfiltered, the images spoke of his instinctive relationship with his subjects. , connections forged by its earthy and racy charm.

More like a memoir than an autobiography, Look Again is a curious affair. It too is raw and unfiltered. The sentences are jerky. The style is crude and demotic. The structure is a kind of stream of consciousness, like we are sitting with Bailey and listening to his memories.

 

David Bailey: Look again

David Bailey: Look again

 

This is not surprising, since the photograph est dyslexique et a réalisé le livre avec l’aide de l’historien de l’art James Fox, décrit ici non pas comme un nègre mais comme son « collaborateur ».

Comme un ensemble de pinces bulldog utilisées par un styliste de mode pour améliorer la coupe d’un vêtement, Fox a la tâche peu enviable d’imposer une sorte de forme aux réminiscences informes de Bailey, en restant invisible tout le temps.

Still looking is at its most evocative when it comes to Bailey's childhood in the 1940s. There is a strong sense of place and an eye for one telling detail: bombed out buildings with their interiors exposed like dollhouses; the cold room with plastic-covered furniture reserved for special visitors; the casual brutality of East End life.

(His father, a boss tailor, was branded for life when a young thug slashed him in the face. The assailant's identity was withheld from Bailey for several decades, but it was gangster Reginald. Kray - whose wedding photos he took in 1965.)

 

David Bailey Look Again 5

On peut dire à peu près la même chose de sa période en poste dans ce qui était alors la Malaisie en service national avec la RAF; tandis que le reste de la caserne était orné de pin-up coquines, une affiche de Picasso était suspendue au-dessus de la couchette de l’aviateur Bailey.

Les années 60, naturellement, occupent la part du lion du livre, mais ici, le style narratif dégressif de Bailey joue contre lui.

Les pages sont riches d’anecdotes – apprendre au danseur de ballet Rudolf Noureev à faire le twist, se faire arrêter par la police avec un python dans le coffre de sa Rolls-Royce – dont certaines seront déjà familières aux aficionados de l’homme et son travail.

Mais quelque part en cours de route, le sens du lieu, et pire encore, de l’époque, se dissipe. Le livre prend une allure presque picaresque, une séquence brumeuse d’incidents dans lesquels notre héros, tel un Moll Flanders masculin ou le protagoniste d’un roman de Fielding, ricoche d’amant en amant.

 

David Bailey Look Again 3

We went from Shrimpton to Deneuve (whom he married for a bet) to Tree to Marie Helvin to, ultimately, Catherine Dyer, his wife since 1986's Look Again, in sections of dialogue transcribed as a theatrical script. Their memories of events don't always match Bailey's.

In a sense, this chaotic tale harkens back to the question of the late 1960s. Many prominent figures who rose to prominence during this youth-obsessed decade are faced with a dilemma: Their early accomplishments eclipse the rest of their lives. , their talent freezes in a simple celebrity.

In 1965, Bailey was undoubtedly a celebrity. The main character of Blow-Up Antonionia was famous on his role model, although Bailey bemoans his fictional counterpart's maniac "Yeah, baby!" Mannerisms - more appropriate, he says, to a studio photographer from Chelsea. ("He was so square, David Hemmings. It would have been better to have Terence Stamp.") The following decades felt a bit like he was looking for a new goal.

 

David Bailey Look Again 2

Despite all that he sometimes maintains that his climax is the present, it's not clear that Bailey made it. He lists some of his greatest hits - Official Live Aid Photographer in 1985, a memorable anti-fur commercial in which a model's coat spills blood on the catwalk, a series of comedy TV commercials for Olympus cameras - but the meaning of the conduct of the previous chapters have disappeared.

Dans sa crudité et son manque de vernis, son insistance sur le fait que tout tourne autour de la fille, Look Again évoque sans effort l’homme et son travail. Il est donc regrettable qu’il souffre par endroits de quelque chose que sa photographie d’une netteté irréprochable n’a jamais fait : un étrange manque de mise au point.

Look Again de David Bailey est publié par Mac millan .

Who is David Bailey?

David Bailey is a english fashion photographer surtout connu pour ses images de célébrités, de mannequins et de musiciens. Bien qu’il soit également connu pour son livre de photographie NWI (1982), qui documente le processus de gentrification dans les quartiers londoniens de Primrose Hill et Camden.

Né le 2 janvier 1938 à Londres, Royaume-Uni, Bailey a abandonné ses études secondaires pour servir dans la Royal Air Force où il a développé un intérêt pour la photographie d’ Henri Cartier-Bresson .

Returning to England, Bailey began working as John French's assistant fashion photographer. During the 1960s and 1970s, the artist gained press attention after a series of high profile marriages with Jean Shrimpton, Catherine Deneuve and Marie Helvin.

In 1965, he published his first book of photographs Box of Pin-Ups, a collection of black and white images depicting Mick Jagger, The Beatles, Twiggy and Andy Warhol, as well as several other personalities.

David Bailey Look Again 10

 

Bailey went on to receive the title of Commander of the Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II and, in 2016, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Center for Photography in New York.

The artist's 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, UK.

 

The Guardian's opinion

Think of the sleepless nights of Mr. Edward Shrimpton, a self-taught builder who in 1960 bought himself a 200 acre farm in Buckinghamshire and sent his two daughters to the best local convent school. First, her eldest, 18-year-old Jean, falls in love with a married man, an East Ender, who took "glamorous" photos of her.

 

And as if that weren't enough, her youngest daughter Chrissie is dating a college student whose only prospect of gainful employment seems to be with a band that has yet to release a record. Faced with the prospect of David Bailey in his hay barn and Mick Jagger in his back bedroom, it seems Edward Shrimpton couldn't decide who to point his shotgun first.

 

David Bailey Look Again 9

Sixty years later, Jean Shrimpton and Bailey can still evoke the thrill of those early liaisons, in which at least a free-spirited picture of the decade that followed was created.

 

Pour autant qu’ils s’en souviennent, ils n’ont jamais fait d’interview ensemble au cours des années où ils se sont rendus célèbres, alors quand ils s’assoient ici, au cœur des mémoires prévisibles et candides de Bailey, c’est comme s’ils reconstituaient de petits fragments d’un fantasme partagé.

le shooting phare de Vogue à New York, emmenant la mode studio dans la rue, lui apportant des fleurs, et les portant sans gêne, leur premier sexe, sur Littleton Common (« ah oui, je m’en souviens bien »). « Il m’a fallu trois mois pour faire passer ma jambe », se souvient Bailey, pour souligner sa bravoure.

Much of this story reads like a foreign country in our age of censorship. There's a lot you might think you already know in this book, but what puts it above the familiar are the recorded segments in which we hear Bailey testing his memory against some of the people he's been in. closest - not only Shrimpton, but also his ex-wives, Catherine Deneuve and Marie Helvin, current wife, Catherine Dyer, and many other friends and lovers.

 

David Bailey Look Again 7

 

De cette façon, James Fox, le nègre de Bailey, fait de ce qui pourrait être un exercice d’auto-mythologie quelque chose de beaucoup plus brut et surprenant (en ce sens, le livre fait un digne successeur des derniers efforts de Fox en tant que « fantôme » pour Keith Richards’s Life).

Parfois, il laisse libre cours au personnage cockney non reconstruit de Bailey, mais en l’écoutant en compagnie de vieux amis et de vieux amants, nous l’entendons également confronter et examiner certains moteurs plus complexes de sa créativité priapique.

Cela remonte en grande partie à l’enfance du photographe. Fox le sonde et le presse au sujet de sa relation avec ses parents, sa mère en colère et son père capricieux – il était l’accident qui a imposé leur mariage horriblement malheureux – et laisse ce rationnement d’affection en temps de guerre expliquer une partie de l’agitation légendaire de Bailey.

Bailey fait remonter son œil pour la beauté féminine à l’après-midi de 1948 lorsqu’il est allé avec sa mère et sa tante lors de leur voyage annuel dans le West End et à Selfridges pour essayer les robes qu’ils ne pouvaient jamais se permettre, avant de rentrer chez eux pour courir. des versions d’entre eux sur leurs machines à coudre.

On one such occasion, her mother tried on a Dior-style dress and turned in front of the backlit department store window - and nine-year-old Bailey took her first photo in her head.

Il a conservé cette image, semble-t-il, même s’il était traité de stupide tous les jours à l’école (il est parti à 14 ans et a reçu un diagnostic de dyslexie à 30 ans) et à travers des emplois qui comprenaient un passage en tant que collecteur de dettes dans l’East End à ses adolescents.

Il était, selon son plus vieil ami, Danny O’Connor, jamais sans «le regard de Bailey» apparemment voir des choses chez les gens – les femmes – qu’ils se voyaient à peine eux-mêmes.

Le regard lui a causé beaucoup d’ennuis, se faisant battre par des voyous locaux, « les garçons Barking », dont il a regardé les petites amies, mais c’était aussi son attirance presque indéfectible. Il n’a jamais douté de ce don. « Ma mère avait l’habitude de dire : ‘Tu finiras comme nous tous, à conduire le bus 101’ », se souvient-il.

« Je me suis dit ‘Je ne le ferais pas.’ » Une grande partie de cette histoire, et une grande partie du comportement qu’elle décrit, se lit comme un pays étranger à notre époque de censure. Comme le dit l’assistant de longue date de Bailey, John Swannell : « Quel que soit le voyage dans lequel il était, il est allé chercher le modèle et 99% du temps, il les a fait craquer. »

 

There is, among the many former lovers who appear in these pages, no suggestion that this attention was unwanted. Fox's subtle narrative lets you see what it looked like through Bailey's eyes and sometimes lets you see the edges of that viewfinder.

 


Eric CANTO Photographer: Concert photos, portraits, album covers.

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