Try 1x for free
1x is a curated photo gallery where every image have been handpicked for their high quality. With a membership, you can take part in the curation process and also try uploading your own best photos and see if they are good enough to make it all the way.
Right now you get one month for free when signing up for a PRO account. You can cancel anytime without being charged.
Try for free   No thanks
Iconic Photographers - David Bailey

By Editor Peter Davidson
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 17th of February 2023


 by Ruslan Bolgov (Axe)


'I never cared for fashion much. Fashion is something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.' ~David Bailey ~


“Who do you think you are? David Bailey?”

Self Portrait 2014


David Bailey, as everyone should know, is an English photographer widely regarded as one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Born in Leytonstone, East London in 1938, Bailey became interested in photography at a young age, and after serving in the Royal Air Force, he began his career as a photographer in the early 1960s. Over the course of his long career, Bailey has produced some of the most iconic images of the last century, including portraits of actors, musicians, and politicians that are instantly recognizable.

Bailey's career took off in the 1960s, when he began working for Vogue magazine. His style, which was characterized by stark black and white portraits and a focus on the subject's face, was a major departure from the traditional, formal portraits that were common at the time. Bailey's approach was more intimate, and he often captured his subjects in candid moments that revealed their true personalities.

One of Bailey's most famous quotes is "I never cared for fashion much. Fashion is something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street; fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening." This quote reflects Bailey's unique approach to photography, which was less about capturing the latest trends and more about capturing the essence of his subjects.

Over the course of his career, Bailey has photographed some of the most famous people in the world, including Mick Jagger, Andy Warhol, and Queen Elizabeth II. His portraits are characterized by a sense of intimacy and authenticity that is often missing from more formal portraits. Bailey's ability to capture the essence of his subjects has earned him a reputation as one of the greatest portrait photographers of all time.

One of Bailey's most famous photographs is the portrait of Michael Caine, which has become a cultural icon. The image captures Caine's distinctive style and personality, and has been reproduced countless times in popular culture.


Michel Caine


Another iconic image associated with Bailey is the phrase "Who do you think you are? David Bailey?"
This phrase became (at the time back in the seventies, and perhaps even today), a catch phrase that is sometimes used to challenge people who are perceived as having an inflated sense of self-importance. I know I had it used more than once against me when I first started as a photographer. The phrase is a testament to Bailey's larger-than-life personality and his status as a cultural icon. Bailey's catch-phrase was created from TV advertisements for Olympus cameras like this one.


In addition to his work as a photographer, Bailey has also been greatly involved in film and television and once directed a documentary about Andy Warhol in 1973. Despite his many achievements, Bailey has remained down-to-earth and focused on his craft, always striving to capture the essence of his subjects in his photographs. He doesn't much believe in 'legacy', stating that “Once you're dead mate, you're dead!”


Bailey is still one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, I'm pretty sure of that. His influence on me is still on-going and his unique approach to photography, which emphasized intimacy and authenticity, has had a profound impact on the world of photography at large earning him a place in the pantheon of great artists. Bailey's famous quotes and iconic images continue to inspire and challenge, reminding us of the power of photography to capture the essence of our world and the people who inhabit it. More power to the man.


 John Lennon



Man Ray

Jane Birkin


Excellent article to open my eyes! Thanks a lot!!!
Thank you!
What an interesting article, Peter! Thank you!
Thank you Ludmila.
Great article! I really enjoyed reading it, thank you!
Good to know, Heike!
Very interesting article, lovely photos and the special bonus, the video clip. Well done Peter and Yvette, many thanks for publishing it.
Thank you Miro.
I have enjoyed reading this great article, thank you!
Thanks Yanyan.
Don't forget to Roll.
Great article, so nice to see a legend spotlighted to ground us. Love the video clip, classic!
All those Olympus ads were classic! Thanks Kimberly.
Lovely article, Thanks for sharing Peter
Thanks Anita.
Great article, I really enjoyed reading this. Many Thanks!
Thanks Patrick!
Great subject of my favourite photographer once had the pleasure of seeing him in person being interviewed very dry humour and wit. An amazing photographer.
Wow, you met him, Colin !!! Great for you ... cheers, Yvette
Very cool you had the chance to meet him!
As a teenager in the 1960's growing up in London, David Bailey was about the only photographer I had heard of and of course he was frequently mentioned in the news. I did not get my first SLR, a completely manual Zenith, until 1973, processed my own FP4 film and joined The Bristol Photographic Society, which met in the basement of a house in Clifton just around the corner from my flat on the Mall. I was a student at the University. I have been in the US since 1978.
Thanks Andrew, hope you have been back since 1978.