BOOK CORNER #15: DAVID BAILEY, ARCHIVE ONE

The appeal of “old” photography books (this one dates to 1999) is the quaint logic that guides the compilation of scattered material. The full-color “Swinging London” Bailey that inspired Blowup is a relic of a bygone era. 

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The 270 mostly black and white pages of this volume illustrate how Bailey’s fashion photography was infiltrated by his photographic subjects (social photography, cityscapes, portraits and so on): in the 1960s, fashion was more than just fashion. These elements can be seen today in the vintage nostalgia for street photography and black and white prints. This tome is pebbled with other curiosities: magazine spreads, colorizations by Vogue artistic director Alexander Liberman, and unpublished material from magazine shoots. 

Editors must have had a generous selection to choose from to be able to discard such shots. Also striking is how the filter has changed: the same images would not be published now, and some of the discarded shots seem like gold to us today.

 


"David Bailey, Archive One" by Martin Harrison, 1999, 276 pgs. Ed. Thames & Hudson.
Kenzo, 27 place de la Madeleine, Paris.