Though David Bailey is most closely associated with 1960s London (Jean Shrimpton gazing over her shoulder, John Lennon and Paul McCartney lazing about, Mick Jagger pursing his lips), the 76-year-old English photographer’s body of work includes much more than icons of the past half century.
As documented in Bailey’s Stardust, the book companion to an ongoing exhibition of the same name at London’s National Portrait Gallery, his interests lie far beyond the scope of fashion and celebrities (though there are plenty of those, too, including a shot of Jerry Hall and Helmut Newton at Cannes, bottom right)—travel photos from Papua New Guinea, Delhi and Burma’s western border, nude portraits of visitors to his studio with very “real” bodies, even a pre–Internet age selfie.
The connective thread throughout the exhibit and tome is Bailey’s ability to portray a person’s essence—more often than not, it’s just a candidly captured face—without the use of elaborate costumes, props or high-concept staging. He’s the glossy lensman with a documentarian’s touch. “Bailey’s Stardust” runs through June 1; St. Martin’s Pl.; npg.org.uk.
Pictured here: "Hound Dog Dolly" (Karen Sharman), 2004