You ask the questions: David Bailey

(Such as: David Bailey, did Ronnie Kray pay you to take his wedding photographs - or did you do it as a favour?)
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David Bailey, 61, was born in Leytonstone, east London. His first job was as a debt collector for a well-known boxing referee. At 17 he did a year's conscripted service in the RAF, then blagged a job with top studio photographer John French. He had no formal training in photography. Less than two years later, aged 21, he shot his first cover for Vogue. Bailey has been married four times and has three children. David Bailey: Archive One, 1957-1969 by Martin Harrison is published by Thames & Hudson. An exhibition of Bailey's work during this period is showing at the Barbican, London EC2, to 27 June.

Why is it that black-and-white photography always seems somehow more "beautiful" than colour?

Gina Gregory, Hammersmith, London

Black and white leaves it open to people's imagination. My daughter once asked me if the world was black and white when I was young.

You're identified in most people's minds as a man of the Sixties; in particular, with a time in which class barriers were being rapidly eroded. Is that how you remember it?

Roger Beauclere, Hackney, London

The Sixties was a time of breaking down class barriers, although I think class still exists today in some areas.

Some people think you have a deep-rooted dislike of women. Would you describe yourself as a misogynist?

Caro Gentle, Halifax

If some people think this, they must also think I'm a masochist as I have loved more women in my life than men. Ask my women friends - they will reassure you I am always on their side.

How do you rate William Eggleston?

C Brown, Bottisham, Cambs

I think William Eggleston's great.

How has photography as a profession changed since the Sixties? Which of today's photographers do you rate? What do you think of Juergen Teller?

Andy Henderson, Gateshead

Photography is more about money now but then so are most things. I photographed Juergen Teller and liked him very much.

Did Ronnie Kray pay you for taking his wedding photos, or did you take them as a "favour"?

Mark Baxter, Camberwell, London

Ronnie Kray did not pay me. It was a favour.

Do you listen to music as you work? If so, what?

Himesh Patel, Leicester

Almost everything from Bach up, but not too much current pop.

What's your favourite memory of Terence Donovan?

Alex Spufford, Cambridge

Ironically, his lust for life.

You have lived with some of the most beautiful women in the world. What's your secret?

Aaron Clare, Hammersmith, London


Who has "star quality" these days?

Elsie Rebuck, Chalfont St Giles, Bucks

Johnny Depp, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst.

What did your wife used to think when you took pictures of her in very private moments? Or perhaps the wife of a photographer has no private moments?

Roger James, Odiham, Hants

My wife is the greatest living person and I respect her more than anyone. I always try to be honest with my pictures and not hide anything. Authors do the same thing but it is just more diffused. They can distort more than a photographer.

Is there anyone you have never photographed, and would like to?

R Wade, London

Castro. He's the last great icon, like Mao, Stalin, Einstein etc. I make no moral judgement. I know everything should be photographed. It helps me make sense of my existence.

During your long career, has a model ever refused to pose, or had a tantrum in your studio?

Tara Smurfitt, Belfast

No, they're only late.

Are there any models you have photographed and not had sex with?

Selina Chaudhary, London

A few.

What's the best camera you ever had?

Ed Rozner, Honiton

Twin lens Rolleiflex and an Olympus Miu.

Catherine Deneuve first thing in the morning: nice or nasty?

John O'Sullivan, Edinburgh


Do you take better photographs of subjects that you have become personally involved with? Which model/celebrity, has had the "face" of the 20th century?

Mr SA Ledger-Lomas, Formby, Merseyside

It is easier to work with people one knows, as did Fellini, Bergman, Ford. Jean Shrimpton is my "face" of the 20th century.

You like to make out you're sexist, yet your pictures of women, especially the early ones, suggest a reverence for them that betray your words. Which is the real you?

Tom Baxter, Middlesborough

I have never been a sexist. My mother and my aunt Dolly formed me. My great loves have been strong women. I have more women friends than men. If I have any sexist feelings they are aimed at men: I hate manly men. Four men in a car talking about football is my idea of hell.

Are you a member of the family that makes that lovely drink you have at Christmas?

Debs Ross, Crouch End, London

As nobody drinks in my family, I can't answer your question.

The faces of many of the models in the fashion pages give the impression of over-indulgence in drugs or sex, a low intelligence, or unbelievable boredom. Assuming that the models are deemed necessary, why is it that women readers are not discouraged from buying the clothes?

John M Wilson, Beverley, Yorkshire

I think you are taking a low-intelligence view of the fashion magazines given by the tabloids. People get what they want. It's called supply and demand.

Next Week

Jilly Cooper, followed by Jack Straw

SEND QUESTIONS for novelist Jilly Cooper and Home Secretary Jack Straw to: You Ask the Questions, Features, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL (fax 0171-293 2182, or e-mail yourquestions@, by 12 noon on Friday 30 April