David Bailey: NY JS DB 62
In January 1962, still in his early twenties, photographer David Bailey fulfilled a dream that dated back to his years in Singapore, when he served in the Royal Air Force. Heading to the U.S., home to the jazz music he so admired, Bailey made his first foreign trip for Vogue, accompanied by his model and girlfriend, Jean Shrimpton. The impact of the couple's early collaborations set new standards that helped put Britain back on the world map of popular culture--though at the time, his aesthetic was so controversial that, as a representative of the magazine, Vogue asked him not to wear his leather jacket in the St. Regis Hotel. (Of course he ignored the advice.) The groundbreaking series that Bailey produced with his recently acquired 35mm camera was special. Newly freed from the confines of the studio, he shot rapidly on the streets and recorded the pioneer moment just before meeting Andy Warhol, and a year before his friends the Rolling Stones launched their own transatlantic invasion. Bailey's historic visual breakthrough is manifested in the energy of these images, even as they convey a certain innocence--the photographs of these "absolute beginners" have a charm and freshness that still resonate today.