It’s strange how things stick in your mind and stay with you through your life.  If you’re of a certain age like me you probably remember television advertising campaigns for “Do the Shake n Vac and put the freshness back“; “A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play“; “Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet” and “For mash get Smash“.

In the 1970s (gosh, I’m feeling old…) a campaign for the Olympus Trip compact camera helped to sell over 10 million cameras, helped by the strapline “The Olympus Trip – so simple, anyone can use it” and endorsed by legendary photographer David Bailey in a series of humourous TV adverts.  It spawned the famous slogan still in use today – “Who do you think you are  – David Bailey?

Fashion and celebrity photographer David Bailey needs no introduction from me.  With a career spanning 50 years he is Britain’s most well-known photographer.  During the 1960s, Bailey personified ‘swinging London’.  His iconic images of everyone from The Beatles, Mick Jagger and PJ Proby to Michael Caine, Julie Christie and the Kray Twins were seen around the world. 

Bailey, along with fellow photographers Brian Duffy and Terence Donovan (‘The Black Trinity’) was instrumental in changing the way that fashion was photographed and portrayed in magazines such as Vogue.  As Vogue sought to reach a younger audience the brash, energetic, working-class Bailey shot over 800 pages of Vogue editorials and covers in one year alone.  David Bailey helped to change the way that photographers were seen – transcending from someone who just presses a shutter button to being creative celebrities in their own right.

With an exhibition of Bailey’s work, ‘Bailey’s Stardust’, currently on show at the National Portrait Gallery, my brother Phil turned up at my house last night with a gift for me that he had brought back from his trip to London – ‘Bailey’s Box of Postcards’.  The box contains a collection of 36 postcards of portraits from across Bailey’s career, including: actors, musicians, photographers, models, designers and people encountered on his travels.  A great gift.  Thanks Phil.

Many of the images in the boxset are shot in Bailey’s trademark style of bold black and white against a plain white background.  For Bailey, it’s about capturing the ‘person’ in front of him, “You can’t create a portrait by yourself. I always tell people it’s them taking the photograph, not me. For me it’s always about the people.”

If you want to find out more about David Bailey check out these books on Amazon:

Bailey Exposed 
Bailey Exposed

David Bailey: Look 
David Bailey: Look

Bailey's Box of Postcards 
Bailey’s Box of Postcards

I usually like to end with a photograph of mine, so here’s Linda shot against a plain white background.  Click to enlarge and feel free to post a comment below.

I think I’ll go and watch ‘Blow-Up’ again on DVD now…..

Linda by Paul Jones

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