Bailey: ‘Vision and Sound’ exhibition at 45 Park Lane showcases the faces behind the music that defined the past sixty years
A new solo exhibition by photographer and filmmaker David Bailey CBE will showcase his unrivalled archive of rare and unseen portraits and candid shots of the music world’s most iconic figures. Bailey: Vision and Sound opens at Mayfair hotel 45 Park Lane on Thursday 15th September and reflects the photographer’s unique style and talent for connecting with his sitters with portraits and candid shots taken over six decades. Highlights include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, Bob Marley, Patti Smith and his jazz heroes, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Dizzie Gillespie.
- From Miles Davis to Mick Jagger, Bowie to The Beatles…David Bailey opens his rare musical photo archive for an exclusive exhibition at 45 Park Lane, in collaboration with Dellasposa Gallery
- The 25 photographs chart the musical genres from the 1960s through to the 21st century, chronicling the greats of rock ’n’ roll, jazz, pop, Britpop and hip-hop with shots of Bob Dylan, Kate Bush, Dr Dre, Grace Jones, and more
- Includes previously unseen record-cover out-takes of albums by Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies, the Rolling Stones, and behind the scenes shots of Queen at Live Aid
- Bailey: Vision and Sound opens on Thursday 15th September at 45 Park Lane
Bailey: Vision and Sound confirms why the East London-born photographer is also considered one of the greatest iconographers of the era that changed the world – the 1960s. It includes an early portrait of Mick Jagger in Paris before the Stones had ever made a record. Despite Jagger being an unknown at the time, the image nevertheless captivated Diana Vreeland, then editor of American Vogue: “I don’t care who he is,” she said, “it’s a fantastic picture. I want to publish it.” Soon after, Bailey and his Pentax were there as the Stones, resplendent in technicolour velvets and silks, stalked the henge at Avebury in 1968.
While Bailey is widely recognised for his radical eye in fashion, he also captured the zeitgeist, creating iconic portraits of The Rolling Stones and The Beatles in the Sixties that represented a shift in attitudes and styles. Other portraits taken throughout decades of ground-breaking music include; David Bowie, Elton John, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. His 2007 portrait of Damon Albarn captures the striking composure of the musician, and his luminous image of reggae master Bob Marley demonstrates Bailey’s natural talent for putting his sitters at ease.
The exhibition features a unique work on canvas depicting John Lennon and Paul McCartney, which relates to the photographic portrait in his groundbreaking Box of Pin-Ups series; Bailey appears to have captured the unique bond of the song-writing duo’s relationship.
The exhibition also presents out-takes from shoots Bailey conducted for album covers, including the sleeves for The Rolling Stones’ Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1968) and Goats Head Soup (1973), as well as the iconic image for Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies (1973). “We actually had a million dollars in cash in the studio for the shoot,” Bailey recalls. “Afterwards the bank counted the whole lot, and there was ten dollars missing.” The note was found burning on a light.
Grace Jones, Kate Bush, and Patti Smith are among the female giants in Bailey’s archive, while his portrait of Noel and Liam Gallagher captures a significant moment in the ‘Cool Britannia’ period of British music history. “I worked quickly as I wanted them out of the studio – I thought they might kill each other,” Bailey recalls of the rivalrous Oasis siblings’ time in front of his lens.
Bailey: Vision and Sound also serves as an homage to Bailey’s own musical heroes, including jazz great Duke Ellington. A shot of Ellington in rehearsal, casting a brief glimpse across the room, offers a moment of solitude – not the typical image of a showman on stage. Other portraits of Bailey’s jazz heroes include Miles Davis and an unseen image of trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie.
An exhibition of this scope is testament to Bailey’s unique eye. His portraits draw out his subjects’ essential qualities, often presenting them with refreshing clarity. “It’s not the camera that takes the picture; it’s the person,” Bailey has stated. Over the past six decades, he has formed lasting friendships with many musicians, photographing them in all their exuberance and in his own stunningly incisive and minimalist manner. The result is a collection of photographic works that have cultivated and influenced the visual culture of music for his and other generations.
Bailey: Vision and Sound, in collaboration with Dellasposa Gallery, will open at 45 Park Lane, London W1K 1PN on Thursday 15 September, and runs to the end of January 2023.
Born on 2 January 1938 in North Leyton, East London, David Bailey started school aged 8 and was assigned to the ‘silly class’ due to what he would later discover was dyslexia. He left school aged 15.
Bailey was conscripted to the Royal Air Force in 1956 and bought his first camera while posted in Singapore. He was inspired to become a photographer after seeing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph, ‘Srinagar, Kashmir’ – an evocative monochrome portrait of a group of Muslim women praying at a holy site as the sun rises behind the Himalayas.
In 1959, Bailey began working as an assistant to the fashion photographer John French and soon struck out on his own, publishing his first portrait, of the author and playwright William Somerset Maugham for Today magazine in 1960 – “The first famous person I photographed,” Bailey recalls.
Discarding the rigid rules of a previous generation of portrait and fashion photographers, he channeled the energy of London’s newly informal street and youth culture into his work. In 1965, he published David Bailey’s Box of Pin-Ups, a collection of 36 prints, now widely acknowledged as defining an era and shaping the future of photography.
Alongside photography, Bailey has always had a passion for music, spanning genres from Cole Porter melodies, to jazz, blues and rock.
A close friend since the ’60s, Mick Jagger has been photographed by Bailey over the years as he evolved into an icon of British rock and roll with The Rolling Stones. From the intimate venues of the Stones’ early days to their sold-out stadium tours, Bailey has photographed Jagger and the band on stages big and small and has also lent his eye for some of their most memorable album covers.
Other British musical notables include John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Lennon and Yoko Ono and, later, Paul McCartney’s Wings.
As a jazz fan, Bailey has had the opportunity to create portraits of some of his heroes of the genre: Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.
In the 1970s and ’80s, his portraits of musicians included artists from both sides of the Atlantic: Alice Cooper, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Elton John and Cat Stevens, John Lydon (aka ‘Johnny Rotten’ of The Sex Pistols) and reggae master Bob Marley. Female stars in his archive include Björk, Cher, Grace Jones, Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand and Tina Turner, among others.
His portrait of Oasis siblings Noel and Liam Gallagher captured a significant moment in the “Cool Britannia” era of British music history.
Bailey’s skills as a photographer led him naturally to motion picture work, and in the early 1960s he began to direct the first of hundreds of TV commercials. He has been internally recognised for his filmmaking, winning a Lion d’Or at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival for his Greenpeace PSA, Meltdown.
The first of Bailey’s landmark exhibitions was in 1971 at SNAP! at the National Portrait Gallery, London, featuring alongside works by his contemporaries David Hockney and Gerald Scarfe.
Bailey has travelled extensively and exhibited worldwide. Although best known for his portraiture and fashion photography, his interests extend to TV commercials, film, painting and sculpture. His six-decade-long career has seen him release over 46 books.
Dellasposa Gallery is where art and culture come together in a celebration of the aesthetic enjoyment and intellectual nourishment offered by the visual arts. Founded in 2016, the gallery, near Hyde Park, represents international contemporary and modern artists, each united by their conceptual rigour and boundary- pushing, timeless works of art.
45 Park Lane
Dorchester Collection’s 45 Park Lane opened on 1st September 2011 just opposite The Dorchester with Wolfgang Puck’s first venture in Europe, CUT at 45 Park Lane. Throughout the intimate-sized hotel, luxurious and contemporary interiors by New York based designer, Thierry Despont, provide a club-like feel offering international guests a smart, central environment from which to enjoy London.