'They're the most peculiar women,” says David Bailey, looking at his photographs of Jean Shrimpton and Kate Moss. “I've never understood. David Bailey, fashion photographer, with his second wife, Catherine has snapped everyone from the Beatles to Jean Shrimpton, Mick Jagger. The meeting of the working-class David Bailey - son of a tailor in London's east end, and an arrogant but talented photographer - and Jean Shrimpton, a middle- class Tonight, their relationship is dramatised in BBC4's We'll Take Manhattan, . Quiz—How many old-school gadgets can you identify?Zoo.
His informal pictures capture London in a time of rebellion, freedom, music and the sexual revolution that was the swinging sixties. Bailey belongs to this group himself, and he is often more famous than some of people he photographs.
David Bailey, born to a working class family, was a complete stranger to these circles. By then he was the famous photographer he is now. I knew about his reputation and I had also learned about his work at art school, so I was very nervous.
A fascinating house, full of colour, bird noise photographs paintings loud music and flash bulbs. The model we were photographing was as young and inexperienced as I was and also nervous because she was warned that Bailey could be difficult. On the contrary, he was charming, told the model she was beautiful and put her at ease, made jokes, laughed a lot, and ignored the art director.
Later I discovered he takes direction from one. As I stood in the background observing him I knew that I was in the presence of a genius.
Jean Shrimpton - Wikipedia
Twenty years or so after that first meeting, Bailey and I still know each other, like each other and continue to work together.
The meeting of the working-class David Bailey - son of a tailor in London's east end, and an arrogant but talented photographer - and Jean Shrimpton, a middle-class farmer's daughter, kickstarted the swinging 60s.
He was 22 and married, and she was 17 but their love affair and the revolutionary pictures from their first assignment for Vogue captivated the world. Bailey was married to his first wife, typist Rosemary Bramble, when he spotted Jean in in a shared studio where she was modelling for a cereal ad for fellow photographer Brian Duffy.
David Bailey: Fashion is "the most boring thing in the world"
It looked as if I could see through her head to the background. Signed up by the fashion magazine he called Jean in to do a bridal shoot and the pair soon became lovers.
But the first time Jean asked him back to the family home, things didn't go well with her father. Far from the traditional, staid fashion pictures, he took offbeat, realistic poses shot against gritty backgrounds. Vogue loved the pictures and they changed the industry forever.
But an essential ingredient was the accessible, yet awkward beauty of Shrimpton, soon known around the globe as The Shrimp - a nickname she hated. This guy picked me up. The girls themselves looked like mountains.
That was when I realised photography could be more than a recording mechanism. He worked as an assistant to the photographer John French, then went on to Vogue aged 21, turning that hallowed institution on its head.
Being a dyslexic East Ender must have given him quite a chip on the shoulder. At one point he grabs my arm. How long have I been married? What does my wife do?
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Bailey has said that he has to fall in love with his subjects to fully capture them. And you can quite see that many of them find themselves reciprocating. Which brings us to the subject of his wives and partners.
A whole section of the exhibition is devoted to the current Mrs Bailey, dark, willowy model Catherine Dyer, 23 years his junior.