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Fahey/Klein Gallery | Bailey : Photographs

Fahey/Klein Gallery | Bailey : Photographs

L’Œil de la Photographie Paris

September 29, 2023

The Fahey/Klein Gallery presents selected photographs by David Bailey. This exhibition includes some of Bailey’s signature images of luminaries of fashion, music, and fine art. In portraits and little-known “torn” prints, he captures subjects including Jane Birkin, Michael Caine, David Hockney, Helmut Newton, Jean Shrimpton, and Mick Jagger.

Bailey’s bold and iconoclastic style has made him one of the world’s most renowned living portrait photographers and earned him as much fame as his subjects. Discarding the rigid rules of a previous generation of portrait and fashion photographers, he channeled and immortalized the energies of London in the 1960s and beyond. Self-taught, his distinctive style comprises stark white backgrounds, uncompromising crops, and striking, seemingly spontaneous poses. From the beginning of his career, which now spans more than six decades, his arresting yet spare portraits and fashion images have conveyed a radical sense of youth and sexuality, often typifying the look of the times.

David Bailey was born in London in 1938. His childhood shaped his early experiences in the East End during the Blitz of WWII. Having left school at fifteen, he was conscripted into the Royal Air Force in 1956. Whilst posted in Singapore, he bought his first camera and was inspired to be a photographer after seeing Cartier Bresson’s photograph, ‘Kashmir’. Bailey started working with fashion photographer John French as his assistant in 1959. He left soon after to strike out his career as a photographer and published his first portrait of Somerset Maugham for ‘Today’ magazine in 1960. Bailey’s meteoric rise at British Vogue in the early ’60s was followed by the publication, in 1965, of his first photography book, Box of Pin-Ups, which, as its title suggests, depicted media stars such as Mick Jagger, The Beatles, and Andy Warhol, among many others. His mercurial persona was the inspiration for the principal character—a fashion photographer—in Michelangelo Antonioni’s modern classic film Blow-Up (1966), and Bailey went on to create some of the most memorable and sensual portraits of the last century. Bailey has exhibited worldwide, with the first of his landmark exhibitions in 1971 at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Other exhibitions have been held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (1983), International Center of Photography, New York (1984), Birth of Cool, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2000), and Bailey’s Stardust, National Portrait Gallery, London (2014), which travelled through 2015 to Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan, and Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. Bailey’s work is held in private and public collections, including the National Portrait Gallery in London, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Los Angeles County Museum of Art.