'Silly' selfies craze will die out, says '60s snapper Bailey

LONDON Mon Feb 3, 2014 7:00am EST

British photographer David Bailey (L) and his wife Catherine Bailey arrive for the opening of the new Saatchi Gallery in London, April 15, 2003. REUTERS/Peter Macdiarmid

British photographer David Bailey (L) and his wife Catherine Bailey arrive for the opening of the new Saatchi Gallery in London, April 15, 2003.

Credit: Reuters/Peter Macdiarmid


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LONDON (Reuters) - The craze for taking "selfies" will die out soon, said British photographer David Bailey, famously known for capturing the free spirit of the swinging '60s.

The 76-year old, whose famous subjects include supermodel Kate Moss, Rolling Stone singer Mick Jagger and actor Jack Nicholson, said he had never taken a self portrait on a smartphone or webcam because he was too busy taking pictures of other people.

"I only just found out what selfies were. I thought it was something entirely different! It's just a silly moment," he told Reuters ahead of his latest exhibition at London's National Portrait Gallery.

"People won't be doing it in six months' time. There will be another craze, I can't see the point."

"Bailey's Stardust", which opens on February 6, features 250 portraits spanning his 55-year career but the photographer insisted the show was not a retrospective.

Organized into different groups, Bailey dedicated rooms in the exhibition to his wife Catherine, the Rolling Stones and fashion icons like Moss and Jerry Hall as well as his travels to Papua New Guinea and East Africa.

Whilst his show features color photography, he is best known for his stark black-and-white portraits against a simple white background, which he says helps to convey the message of his work in a direct manner.

"When you look at a color picture, you kind of look at the color before you look at the message, whereas black and white cuts out the color, so you go straight to the message."

Showing no signs of slowing despite his age, Bailey says he spends his time working on various projects across film, sculpture and photography, adding he never gets nostalgic.

"I'm only interested in now, this moment. Because that is the only thing we have in life, it's now, this moment. When this moment is gone, it's another moment," he said.

"But I'd thought I'd have a word with the devil at the crossroads and see if I can get a bit more time."

(Additional reporting by Freya Berry; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Comments (4)
hkrieger wrote:
A different sort of selfie -
“ID or Ego”

Feb 03, 2014 12:49pm EST  --  Report as abuse
stepsinred wrote:
I would love to agree with Mr. Bailey, but I remember taking a “selfie” when I was about 16 years old. I am going to be 26 this April. If there was no idiomatic term for it ten years ago and now there is, along with the hubris and vanity my generation exhibits, I don’t see the “selfie” going away at all.

Feb 03, 2014 1:32pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Maybe he hopes selfies will disappear because a selfie with his his wife, appears to most other people as a selfie with his granddaughter #aintnolegitimatehashtagforthat

Feb 03, 2014 3:47pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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