Fashion and portrait photographer David Royston Bailey was born on January 2, 1938 in North Leyton, East London. He left school at 15 and worked a series of dead end jobs until he was conscripted to the Royal Air Force in 1956. Whilst stationed in Singapore, he bought his first camera. Upon his return to England in 1959 Bailey began his work as the assistant to fashion photographer John French; soon, he left to strike out his own career as a photographer.
Disregarding the rigid rules of a precious generation of portrait and fashion photographers, he channelled the energy of London’s newly informal street culture into his work. Bailey has worked with some of the greatest artists of the 20th century like Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, and David Hockney–while chronicling the famous and infamous: musician Mick Jagger, East End gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray (aka ‘The Kray Brothers’), supermodel Naomi Campbell, Olympian Mo Farah and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In the early 1960s he began to direct the first of hundreds of commercials, and has been recognized internationally for his skills as filmmaker. Bailey has exhibited worldwide and has produced some of the most famous photographic portraits of the last six decades. In 2001, Bailey was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen.