The Photographer Who Captured 1960s London

Jean Shrimpton, 1965. Photo: David Bailey

British photographer David Bailey created some of the most iconic studio portraits of the 1960s. Capturing people like Brigitte Bardot, Diana Vreeland, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Andy Warhol, and Mick Jagger, his work brought celebrities closer to the camera lens with a stark white backdrop. Now, his biggest retrospective ever will be released on May 1 in the book David Bailey, published by Taschen. It features 300 famous portraits taken from the 1950s to the 2010s, including images of Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, and the queen.

Using dramatic lighting and closely cropped shots, Bailey got his start as a fashion photographer at British Vogue in the 1960s. He met his muse and girlfriend, the supermodel Jean Shrimpton, on the roof of Vogue’s offices. Both of them became fixtures of the Swinging Sixties. Bailey worked for Vogue for 15 years and later pursued film and color photography. His new Taschen retrospective is the culmination of two years’ worth of research into his personal archives.

“I don’t know what I do,” Bailey once said. “All I know is that when other people do white backgrounds, they look like passport pictures.” Scroll to see images from the book.

Diana Vreeland, 1967. Photo: David Bailey
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1965. Photo: David Bailey
Brigitte Bardot, 1967. Photo: David Bailey
Paloma Picasso, 1975. Photo: David Bailey
Andy Warhol, 1965. Photo: David Bailey
Mick Jagger, 1973. Photo: David Bailey
Jean Shrimpton, 1961. Photo: David Bailey
Penelope Tree, 1960s. Photo: David Bailey
Photo: Mark Seelen/© Mark Seelen
The Photographer Who Captured 1960s London