I saw a number of great books on my visit to MoMA, and curiously two of the best were by British photographer David Bailey, who is perhaps the éminence grise among the celebrated stars of the photographic firmament in Great Britain today. Bailey was a leading light of 1960s fashion and culture in Britain and has been an important photographer there ever since. A member (with Terence Donovan and the late Brian Duffy, whose last exhibit we highlighted here) of the famous "black trinity," he was the model for the photographer in the Michelangelo Antonioni movie Blow-Up.
Anyone interested in fashion photography or celebrity portraiture will want to own Bailey's Stardust. A big, bold, beautiful book with a premium feel, it's chock full of superb reproductions and is as good a summation as any of Bailey's major lifetime accomplishment in that genre. It was originally an exhibition catalogue from a traveling show that originated at the National Portrait Gallery of London in the Spring of last year. If that sort of thing is your sort of thing, I can almost guarantee you're going to love this one. It's a hit in every way.
More interesting to me personally, and an even better book if that's possible, is Steidl's Bailey's East End, which consists of three paperback volumes in a slipcase. Six hundred and twenty or so photographs drawn from three extended periods of shooting from the 1960s to 2000 fill a total of 464 pages. A rich and important documentary project and a really top-flight book that will bear repeated study and extended delectation. I'm short on bookshelf space now but this one's a must-have. If there is such a thing in these atomized times, this is a major landmark in photobook publishing.
Here's our link to Amazon U.K.
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