Smartphones have killed the photography star Says David Bailey

Smartphones have killed the photography star Says David Bailey BLOG Wednesday 27 November 2019

David Bailey says smartphones have killed the photography star

The 81-year-old, whose striking pictures of The Beatles, Mick Jagger and Twiggy set the tone for the Swinging Sixties, says today’s phone cameras allow amateurs to outdo professionals.

And he claims his wife of 33 years Catherine Dyer, 58, takes better photographs than he does to publish on her Instagram feed.

Bailey spoke out days after the death of photographer Terry O’Neill, a fellow Londoner who also rose to fame during the Sixties and took iconic pictures of stars including Frank Sinatra, Elton John, Brigitte Bardot and David Bowie.

In one of his last interviews, published in Saturday’s Telegraph Magazine, O’Neill confessed that he had wanted to be a jazz drummer rather than a photographer.

“Growing up, I never wanted to be a photographer. I wanted to be a jazz drummer! Still do,” he said.

“When I left The Daily Sketch [in 1964], my editor told me that I would amount to nothing. So, the next day, I called everyone I knew looking for work. Everything turned out all right.

“I worked with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones at the start of their careers – and some of my images were the first of them to run in national newspapers.”

As well as technology, some modern star photographers have also seen their careers hit by the MeToo movement.

Terry Richardson and Mario Testino, who have shot celebrities including Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Kim Kardashian, were both dropped by Vogue in recent years following separate allegations of sexual assault, which they deny.

Bailey told of his awe for “amazing” smartphone pictures as he promoted his £2,250 book Sumo, which features 300 of his most famous portraits, at fashion store Flannels in Oxford Street, London.

Dylan Jones, the editor of GQ, asked: “Obviously everyone with a telephone now thinks they’re a photographer, don’t they?”

Bailey replied: “They are, they’re better than me! My wife takes much better pictures than I do on her Insta-whatever-it’s-called … Instagram. The pictures are amazing.

“I keep telling her she should publish a book, not me, they’re much better.”

Mr Jones continued: “So is the age of photography over?”

Bailey replied: “Yeah. You’ll be thankful, there’ll be no more David Baileys working for you.

“I think it’s so over, that star photographer thing has gone. Like in everything. There’s no star fashion person any more, it’s all spread out.”

Bailey made his name working for Vogue in the Sixties.

His distinctive black-and-white close ups became so highly regarded he was asked to photograph Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Queen, in 1989 and 2014 respectively.

Asked how he made the Queen smile, Bailey said: “I told her a joke”, but insisted its contents were “between me and my Majesty”.

More difficult subjects included gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray in 1965.

Ronnie, who was bisexual, said of Bailey’s assistant: “He’s mine for the night.”

Luckily, the situation blew over when others at the shoot made a joke of it.

Asked about his favourite photo, Bailey says it is “the next one” and insists he will keep taking photographs to avoid getting bored.

Snap happy: How to take a smart photo

Taking the perfect smartphone picture requires you not to try anything flashy.

The flash of a smartphone can ruin a photo, as it is fixed in place and only directs the light straight at the subject, which can create shadows or overexposure.

Most smartphone cameras have the option of brightening or darkening the shot using exposure instead, by sliding a finger up or down the screen.

Make sure the camera is landscape, not portrait, and the shot is straight by using the horizon as a guide.

Do not be afraid to get in close to the subject of your picture, professionals advise, as most smartphone pictures will have too much space in them.

Take several shots in case one does not come out properly and only apply filters after, not before.

Greg Wilford – Daily Telegraph Saturday 23rd November 2019.


To Me: The skill in today’s photography is in the artwork after the photo has been taken. In programmes like Photoshop. And then how you present them, photobooks, slideshows etc.


Publisher’s Description

In 1965, portrait and fashion photographer David Bailey released his groundbreaking book Box Of Pin-Ups securing him as the hip tastemaker for 1960s London cool. With Mick Jagger his best man at his wedding to Catherine Deneuve, Bailey was also the inspiration for the classic movie Blow-Up. From the Swinging ’60s to the present day, Bailey has never stopped pushing the boundaries of his signature in-your-face portraiture and is widely regarded as one of the great postwar photographers.

This big book of Bailey is the culmination of an incredible career, the result of two years’ worth of research into his personal archives. Through penetrating pictures of the beautiful and the notorious, the idolized and the powerful, friends and family, writers, artists, and fellow photographers, Bailey presents a sweeping cultural history of the last 60 years. Featured subjects include Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Kate Moss, Nelson Mandela, Francis Bacon, Zaha Hadid, the Rolling Stones, Jack Nicholson, Brigitte Bardot, Margaret Thatcher, and hundreds more.

As his friend Damien Hirst writes in the foreword: “He’s the master of his art and he’s created a mind-blowing visual language.” Additional text includes a three-part essay on Bailey’s portraiture by noted photography critic Francis Hodgson.

Limited to a total of 3,000 numbered and signed copies, each edition comes with a bookstand designed by Marc Newsom and a set of four book jackets featuring John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Jean Shrimpton, Mick Jagger, and Andy Warhol.



“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray


Happiness is…taking an amazing beautiful photograph


Did you hear about the guy who got hit in the head with a can of soda? He was lucky it was a soft drink.


Love is… awesome


Eight by Ten – Ken Dodd

Highest Chart Position: No.22 20th February 1964


Wednesday 27 November 2019

Bavarian Cream Pie Day

Jukebox Day

Craft Jerky Day

Pins and Needles Day

Tie One On Day




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