David Bailey: Defining the 1960s

David Bailey has become synonymous with London during the 1960s. As famous as his subjects, and with a voracious appetite for work, parties and his female sitters, he became the principal inspiration for the protagonist of 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.

He was to photography what the Rolling Stones were to pop music – his images radiated youth and sexuality, and helped to define the look of British fashion and style during the period. Bailey’s reputation was backed up by a talent for composition that incorporated stark white backgrounds, uncompromising crops, and striking poses. During the early 1960s, his professional and personal relationship with the model, Jean Shrimpton, was a key factor in cementing this fame. Bailey was married to his first wife when he spotted Jean in 1960 in a shared studio where she was modelling for a cereal ad for fellow photographer Brian Duffy. Championed by Vogue, Bailey and Shrimpton created numerous, iconic fashion images, and became one of the key celebrity couples of their time.

In this image Bailey depicts the artist Andy Warhol and his ‘Gang’; Edie Sedgwick, Gerard Malanga and Chuck Wein.

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