The Wisdom of David Bailey

David Bailey was interviewed by Mark Lawson on BBC 4 here in the UK a couple of nights ago (10th March).

David Bailey and Mark Lawson

David Bailey and Mark Lawson

Bailey is always good for a quote or two, here are a few classic answers to some of Mark Lawson’s questions:

  • Mark Lawson: Millions of photographs being taken all the time, millions of people thinking they are photographers, has that devalued the profession?
  • David Bailey: No, the opposite, the same thing happened with Box Brownies when they came out, everyone said it would be the end of art photography, but nothing changed.
  • ML: You draw a clear distinction between professionals and amateurs?
  • DB: Oh yeah. I always say they can manage to take one great picture in their life, I managed to do two so I’ve always got the edge.
  • ML: How much does the equipment matter?
  • DB: It doesn’t matter at all. People say what’s the best camera, I always say the one in my pocket or the one round my neck. It’s not the camera that takes the picture, it’s the person.
  • ML: Speed’s important to you in working?
  • DB: It’s people not being bored. Taking pictures is a bit like having sex, if it takes more than twenty minutes someone’s going to get bored and nine times out of ten it will be the woman”.
  • ML: When did you first have the opportunity to take photographs?
  • DB: With my mothers box brownie. Then I saw a picture by Cartier-Bresson and thought “oh shit, there’s more to this photography than I thought”.

Great stuff. You can still catch the interview on the BBC iPlayer if you’re quick.

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