David Bailey (74) is a much celebrated (read cantankerous but talented) British photographer who has shot the stars (Jagger, Caine etc ). He appears to have arrived at that enviable place where he can choose what he shoots and where he goes to do it. He did an interview in the Telegraph Newspaper this month about all things photography which made for an interesting read. Following is an abridged version of his interview. The full version can be accessed at the link at the bottom of the post
……….ON WHETHER PHOTOGRAPHS ARE LESS POWERFUL IN A WORLD WHERE THERE ARE SO MANY OF THEM:
DB: It makes the good ones even more powerful because it hasn’t taken away the good ones. The good ones are still there. Digital and Photoshop just moved mediocrity up a stop, that’s all. They’re still mediocre – they just look better.
T: Is there such a thing as a great photograph that’s been touched up?
DB: I think so. I mean Raphael used Photoshop didn’t he?
T: Did he?
DB: Of course he did. When Medici said to him: “I fancy that bit of stuff over in Portugal, can you go and take a photo of her?” he didn’t show her dandruff and her scabby skin and her black teeth and the spots, did he? He used Renaissance Photoshop.
T: Like Holbein when he painted Christine of Denmark and when she actually turned up Henry VIII thought: ‘What?’
……..ON WHETHER PHOTOGRAPHY IS ART?
DB: Photography and painting aren’t art. It depends on whether the person doing it is an artist.
DB: The pictures don’t get better the longer you’re around the subject. The moment’s the moment. And you don’t want them to be bored with you either because the magic goes. You have to get the magic quick. If I go to Delhi, I get off the plane and I start photographing because five days later it all starts to look normal.
Here’s the interview in full: