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Tuesday, 04 November 2014


Saw a BBC documentary about David Bailey lately - and he's a wonderful guy. Still gives his models all the feedback (and compliments) they need so that he'll get a good photo. And when walking around, he's carrying what looks like a Mamiya 6 or 7 - what else would a photographer need? Wish I could meet him.

Mike, the other secret to making it to 100 and beyond is to choose your parents carefully, I'd venture....

Boy, the images from that "his best portraits" link are awful. Visibly unsharp, consistently. (To be clear -- I'm assuming that's a flaw in the web gallery, so my comment is NOT aimed at David Bailey.)

Re-watched Blowup not that long ago, after not seeing it since film class in college. Still good -- though several things not as I remembered them. In film class we watched it as a pair with The Conversation, which was quite interesting.

I was photographed, by Bailey, for British Vogue in the late '90s. He was doing a series on people involved in London Fashion Week and, as Vogue's catwalk photographer, I was chosen.

He used a Linhof 5x4 and a 210mm lens. The film was Tri-X rated at 200. But the thing that took stood out was the lighting. He used one single monoblock with a large silver-backed umbrella and no fill.

I remember saying to one of his assistants that they were going to end up with some rather contrasty negs and I got a rather rueful reply. Months later, the art director for Vogue told me that the printers went through merry Hell trying to reproduce those photos for the mag.

My mum has a copy of my photo, from the mag, framed at home. It's bloody awful.

"(We don't do enough on portraits around here.)" Yes, we do.

Don't worry, Roy. Not recognizing David Bailey in the 1980s was a national pastime. :-)

"David Bailey? Who's he?"


From the BBC, Mark Lawson talks to David Bailey (the whole 1 hour show). Interesting interview though not the best Bailey documentary I've seen.


"If you live to be one hundred, you've got it made. Very few people die past that age."
—George Burns

"In film class we watched it as a pair with The Conversation, which was quite interesting."

Great double-bill, I like that. That must have stimulated an interesting discussion.

As a minor aside, the documentary photos, featured near the start of Blow Up, were taken by the truly great Don McCullin, who was a technical advisor on the film.

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