We’re all inspired by many influences in our life – and being a wedding and portrait photographer, your heroes and influences tend to come in visual form. As a teenager, one of my photographic heroes was the icon who is David Bailey. If you missed the first part of this blog, where I explained why, you can catch it here.
I grew up in a small town in Worcestershire, although my father’s work was often based in London, so I spent enough time there to be - possibly childishly – entranced by its perceived glamour. Of course, now I know that a big city isn’t what I was looking for and that innovation, happiness, beauty can be found elsewhere; but as a teenager with itchy feet and wings which ached to be set free, a small town was what I railed against. The magazines and newspapers were full of the London elite, not people like me. And that’s what I saw in David Bailey and in his work.
David came from humble beginnings to be the most lauded and exotic photographer of his time. He, almost single handedly, created the images of the Swinging Sixties as we remember them (credit does need to go to Terence Donovan and Brian Duffy, as well). But Bailey’s work at Vogue, his images of Jean Shrimpton, The Beatles, Terence Stamp, The Rolling Stones and famously The Kray twins, made him the real poster boy of the photographic revolution of the time. He himself was a visual dream, a beautiful boy who married one of the most gorgeous women in the world, Catherine Deneuve.
As a master of black and white, Bailey’s work captured the defiance, the youthful insolence and the dreams of the people he
photographed. People stared into Bailey’s camera and left something of themselves on the film, something which I, and millions of others, saw and recognised in my young self. Of course, I could never be as glamorous and famous as the people Bailey photographed, but I could identify with them, even twenty years after the images were taken. That, to me, was where his mastery lay. He captured spirits and printed them for the rest of us to drink in.
Yet, there was more to what I saw than just his talent with the photographic art. He was as glamorous as the people he photographed. Of course, in the Eighties, when I was teenager, but that didn’t seem to matter.
Why is his work as compelling as it ever was? He himself said, ‘I’ve always tried to do pictures that don’t date. I always go for simplicity.’ And therein you find one of the cornerstones of great photography. Simplicity will always rule out over complexity, for it avoids passing trends and it doesn’t overwhelm the subject with its own voice. A photographer is telling someone else’s story, not their own, and that story needs to be timeless.
Thank you very much for the photos! We spent a lot of time over Christmas going through them and they are truly wonderful. Thank you so much for your hard work and for playing such an important part in our wedding.
Thank you very much again for your amazing work!
Teodora & David