|Born||Jan. 2, 1938
Leytonstone, London, England
Born in 1938 in Leytonstone, East England, David Royston Bailey is one of the most respected photographers in the world. He worked as a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine, but he is also known for his work on the ‘Swinging London’ scene from the 1960s, which gave him celebrity photographer status.
Early and Family Life
David Bailey’s father, Herbert, was a tailor’s cutter and his mother, Gladys, became a machinist. At the age of three, David’s family moved to East Ham, after their house was bombed during the WWII. His family was not financially well-off and he had seen days of struggle early in his life. According to David, during his childhood, he and his family used to go to the cinema every night as it was cheaper to watch movies in the cinema than to afford to heat their home.
School Years and Beyond
During his childhood, David experienced problems at school as he was suffering from dyslexia as well as a motor skill disorder. Due to this, he had to attend a private school where did not learn as much.
However, David left school at the age of 15 to work at small time jobs. In 1956, he got his call for National Service and he served the Royal Air Force in Singapore in 1957. After he was demobilized in 1958, David decided to pursue a career in photography and bought himself a Canon rangefinder camera.
From early years, David developed love for natural history, which led him towards photography. Due to his bad school record, he could not find a place in the London College of Printing, so he decided to join David Ollins as his second assistant.
David Bailey started his professional career as a photographic assistant at John French Studio. In 1960, he worked as a photographer for John Cole’s studio. Later that year, Bailey was contracted by British Vogue magazine as a fashion photographer. He also took on a great deal of freelance work at that time.
Along with Brian Duffy and Terence Donovan, Bailey captured and helped create ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960s, which was a reflection of the fashion and cultural scene of London at that time. The three photographers socialized with royalty, actors, and musicians, and their status was elevated to celebrity status. Together, they were called the Black Trinity, the first celebrity photographers.
Later, David directed many TV commercials and documentaries as well. In 1976, he even published Ritz newspaper with with David Litchfield. In 2005, Bailey was awarded the Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society for his sustained and significant contribution to the art of photography.
David has been married four times. His first wife was Rosemary Bramble, whom he married in 1960. In 1965, David married actress Catherine Deneuve. Their marriage lasted for seven years. His third wife was model Marie Helvin. In 1986, David married model Catherine Dyer, to whom he is still married.
David has been a long time vegetarian and he also refrains from drinking. He is a complete art lover and has loved the works of Picasso. Currently, David lives in Glastonbury, Somerset. Before this he had lived in London and in Dartmoor. He has three children – Fenton, Paloma, and Sascha.