When Bailey set out on his first project for Vogue with Jean Shrimpton to New York, there was no such thing as ‘youth culture’. He wanted to capture a new style of fashion photography, and was adamant on using 18 year old Shrimpton. Before his shoot in New York in 1962, Vogue was riddled with shots of wooden stances with one stiff leg in front of the other. There was no idea of fashion being fun or colourful.
Bailey refused to use a tripod and said that photographing with a hand-held camera meant that he could point and shoot as Shrimpton wandered down the streets of New York in varying locations. She did her own hair and make-up and in some cases wore her own accessories. So as a matter of fact, the whole photography shoot was more of a holiday to ‘The Big Apple’ rather than a strictly-instructed-by-Vogue-editor’s fashion spread.
After a couple of dubious editors doubting the idea of a new younger fashion era, Bailey’s photographs of Jean Shrimpton were published in Vogue in the early 1960’s, kick starting the new era of youth culture. They were hugely popular and changed the face of fashion, in my opinion, for the better.
I really love Bailey’s whole perspective of fashion photography. At how he feels there are no limits, and that fashion should be fun and expressive, rather than poised in stiff poses. These paved the way for the Twiggy era and fashion photography in the 21st century.
You might have watched the recent BBC 4 television programme called 'We'll take Manahattan' starring the incredibly handsome if I say so myself