The Evening Standard’s interview with leading member of “The Club” photographer David Bailey is surprise, surprise nothing but a suck-up to a talented yet pompous prick of a man suggests Matthew Steeples
On Monday, the Evening Standard published an interview with a man they termed “the original bad boy photographer”, David Bailey.
Given the paper is owned by Evgeny Lebedev – a man whose oligarch father stated: “I do not treat newspapers as business. I treat them as my responsibility” on buying The Independent (he later closed it down) and a man who is either in the company of a pet wolfdog named Boris or toady individuals like titleless David Furnish and talentless Elizabeth Hurley – one sadly could only expect something that would end up being a suck-up to a plainly extremely brilliant, yet truly repugnantly rude man.
I admit I am biased: I was introduced to David Bailey by a PR at a party for a property development, for which he’d been handsomely paid to provide photographs for each and every apartment, some years ago. I politely said: “Hello, Mr Bailey, a pleasure to meet you”. He stood there grimacing and grunted. The perplexed PR interjected the silence: “David, please could you sign a catalogue [about the development] for this man? I’d like him to have a signed version”. Bailey answered: “What does he want me to sign? My fucking cock?” I walked off into the night with a copy of said tome and gave it to a beggar.
When I recounted this tale to two other legendary photographers, they shared with me similar tales of how Bailey is notorious for his arrogance and sheer disdain of others. They claimed he is regarded unabashedly angry by both subjects and contemporaries, but in conversation with the Standard’s Charlotte Edwards, he actually just came across as a bitter old bore.
Aside from bizarrely lauding Donald Trump’s “power”, Bailey predictably referenced his closeness to the Krays and the Murdochs (he photographed the weddings of both). He commented “if you’re an artist you’ve got to have an ego” and claimed “now is my heyday”. He termed Mario Testino “[without] talent” and remarked that he views selfies to be “a form of masturbation” (he’s not wrong there). That he considers Lucian Freud as a “superficial” being who should have “put his effort into something else” is yet further proof that fame has gone to his head but that he supposedly once compared himself to Picasso (he disputes this) shows true delusion.
At one point Bailey refers to how he was a “fucking pain in the arse” when he was younger. Plainly, this chippy, yet talented man still is.