David Bailey photograph of John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Art and culture

David Bailey: Vision and Sound

January 06, 2023

Our latest exhibition at 45 Park Lane pays homage to David Bailey’s unique eye. His portraits draw out his subjects’ essential qualities to create enduring images. Find out about the man behind so many compelling photographs in our exclusive interview.

About the exhibition

Widely recognised as one of the pioneers of contemporary photography, David Bailey is known for capturing some of the most striking images of the 20th century. Presented in collaboration with Dellasposa Gallery, this enthralling exhibition brings together his iconic portraits of legendary musicians, tracing movements from jazz and early rock-and-roll to punk, Britpop, and hip-hop over the past six decades.

David Bailey photograph of Bob Marley.
The Queen by David Bailey.

Q&A with David Bailey

 

What was the moment you thought photography is the career for me?

I first became interested in photography and bought a camera when I was based in Singapore with the Royal Air Force.

 

What was the breakthrough photo that kick-started your career?

The image I took of the model Pauline Stone in 1960, she’s pictured on her knees talking to a stuffed squirrel!

 

What’s the best reaction you’ve had to one of your photos?

Probably my image of Queen Elizabeth II is the one that has got most people talking.

What do you consider your secret to success to be?

My sense of humour.

 

What’s the key to creating a compelling image?

Hard work, luck, and a bit of talent helps.

David Bailey photograph of Grace Jones.
David Bailey photograph of Dr Dre.

Tell us about some of the decisive moments you’ve experienced when taking photos.

All of my photos are decisive in some way but the most decisive ones are the real hits.

 

Who inspires you?

Picasso.

 

What do think of how photography has evolved over the years?

The technology has evolved enormously. In terms of art, photography is still a new form in its infancy.  It will be interesting to see how it evolves.

What has photography taught you?

If you run out of persistence, go to the camera shop and buy more.  If it works, pass it on to me.

 

Any thoughts on the exhibition?

I will leave that to other people to decide.

David Bailey photograph of Paul McCartney.

For a chance to see the Bailey: Vision and Sound exhibition for yourself, please visit us at 45 Park Lane before the end of January.

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