Tuesday, November 20, 2007

David Bailey & Jean Shrimpton, New York 1962

I just came across this lovely art book by British photographer David Bailey called "NY JS DB 62". This cinema-verite style photo shoot was done in early 1962 in New York City when David Bailey, then a novice at British Vogue, was commissioned for a 14-page editorial in the Big Apple for the same publication. At the time fashion shoots were mostly done in studios and followed pretty classic guidelines of sets, poses and aristocratic styling. The minuscule travelling crew consisted of David himself, his then girlfriend supermodel Jean Shrimpton and a nervous & complaining Vogue fashion editor. Make up and hair style were done by Shrimpton herself, Bailey changed his own films, they travelled by cabs and endured freezing temperatures in the days they spent in New York. Unknown to them at the time, they were making fashion history with an innovative and ground-breaking editorial that permanently changed the way fashion photography was meant to look like. Instead of pretty pictures in front of the stone lions of the 42nd Street Library as the editor suggested, Bailey went to Harlem - inspired by his love of Jazz and clubland - and bohemian locations in the Lower East Side. He captured the downbeat energy of a moving city, it's gray streets reminiscing of Bailey's youth growing up in East London. It's tough/naive youthful vibe - touching and intimate at times - is a literal picture-in-time in the history of style, photography and culture. Love it!

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