76-year old, British photographer David Bailey, famously known for capturing the free spirit of the swinging ’60’s has predicted the death of “selfies.”
REALLY??? The death of selfies?
First Off, Who is David Bailey?
David Bailey (b. January 2, 1938) is an English photographer and regarded as one of the UK’s best. His career at British Vogue started in 1960. Bailey captured and helped create the ‘Swinging London’ of the 1960s: a culture of fashion and celebrity chic. This allowed him to socialize with actors, musicians and royalty, elevating him to celebrity status. Over the following years, Bailey’s ascent at Vogue was meteoric. At the height of his productivity, he shot 800 pages of Vogue editorials in one year and his career kept on going.
In 2001, Bailey was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire “for services to Art.” In 2005, he was awarded ‘The Royal Photographic Society’s Centenary Medal’ and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS) in recognition of a sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography. In 2005, he was involved in a feature titled British Rule for GQ, charting the British influence on rock and roll, photographing several musicians. In 2010, he visited Afghanistan to photograph British troops raising money for the charity Help For Heroes. Bailey holds an extensive list of published books and public exhibitions.
So, when Bailey, whose famous subjects included Kate Moss, Mick Jagger and Jack Nicholson, said in a story published recently by Reuter’s, he has never taken a self portrait on a smartphone or webcam because he was too busy taking pictures of other people, it makes you wonder: What happened to him?
“I only just found out what ‘selfies’ were. I thought it was something entirely different! It’s just a silly moment,” Bailey told Reuters ahead of his latest exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Wait a second, the man who helped shape the ‘Swinging 60’s’ and has been a huge influence in the photography world missed arguably, the most significant photographic movement ever?
Year Decade of the ‘Selfies’
‘Selfies,’ in case you missed it, was Oxford Dictionary’s 2013 Word of the Year! Favorited by, well, almost everyone from college students to celebrities to my mom; I’m pretty sure in our narcissistic and #humblebrag society, ‘selfies’ are here to stay.
“People won’t be doing it in six months’ time. There will be another craze, I can’t see the point” predicts Bailey. Right… And Instagram will lose all of its 32,000,000 users.
And don’t try to tell us you didn’t tweak your photos in the darkroom either. It’s just easier now with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. (Speaking of Lightroom, Have you tried our Lightroom Presets & Workshop v5? It’ll help make your selfies look fantastic!)
If you haven’t been able to tell yet, this story has really struck a nerve with me. As photographers, isn’t our job to capture and interpret the society in which we live? Clearly Bailey’s time has come and gone. In trying to find out everything about the man and make sense of this story, I’ve really just come to the conclusion that Bailey is a Honey Badger; he’s trying to stay in the game, delaying the inevitable exit, stage left. Don’t get me wrong, coming to this conclusion was a bit disappointing. I really wanted to learn about a man who lived an amazing life and was embracing our generation of photographers and the technology that has brought photography to the masses.
Mr. Bailey, with all due respect, there comes time in a person’s life where the world just doesn’t make sense any more. I’m only in my mid-thirties and already seeing a much different world than the one I grew up in. But instead of putting my head down and running for shelter, I, like so many others, have embraced evolution. And as long as there are mobile phones with cameras, there will be selfies… and that’s pretty much how the cell phone manufactures want to keep it.