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  • Provenance

    Faggionato Fine Arts, London
    Private Collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    London, Faggionato Fine Arts, Bailey’s Democracy: Photographs by David Bailey, 14 December 2005–27 January 2006

  • Literature

    D. Morris, David Bailey - Bailey's Democracy, Göttingen: Steidl, 2006

  • Catalogue Essay

    David Bailey’s project ‘Democracy’ is concerned with nakedness, the concept of which excited him – people directly exposed with no clever lighting or sheen of make-up. He had, he claimed, no wish to contribute more images to the canon of the classical or traditional nude: “All that worrying about poncy lighting, making people look like landscapes or rocks … If I wanted to photograph a fucking rock, I’d photograph a fucking rock.” He is loath to admit it, but the idea for a body of work entitled ‘David Bailey’s Democracy’ came to him while reading Plato’s Republic. From this he conjured up the idea of a cast of characters, not posed or composed, but instead literally standing in their own skins.

    He advertised for naked models (over 100 applied), laying down a set of rules: everyone was to be photographed in the same surroundings with the same lighting, with each subject given six shots. Each volunteer was placed in front of a white backdrop under a single light, while Bailey shot them from 12 feet away. The photographer’s own platonic utopia resulted, captured by a huge camera chosen for maximum detail and frame.

    No one could be refused, and all ‘species’ of human applied; the key was the subject, not the photographer, and people ‘being themselves’. Thus, instead of the usual Vogue habitués, Bailey was confronted by strangers and non-celebrities. To add a final seal of individualism, he gave each sitter the freedom to entitle their image however they wished.


Amanda Johnson, Songwriter / Performer / Contortionist / Bitch / Cunt

Gelatin silver print, printed 2005.
123.3 × 99 cm (48 1/2 × 38 7/8 in)
Signed, dated ‘05’ and numbered 1/3 in pencil on the reverse of the flush-mount.

£5,000 - 7,000 ♠ †

Sold for £10,000


17 May 2012