What do flowers, skulls and contact sheets have in common? Not much you might think, but David Bailey begs to differ. This book combines David Bailey’s (*1938) recent colour photographs of still-life flowers and skulls, with black and white contacts of his iconic celebrity portraiture and fashion work from the 1960s.
One might analyze Bailey’s combination of these bodies of work in light of the vanitas tradition, seeing it as a commentary on mortality and the passing of time. Indeed such a reading is tempting when comparing images of wilting roses with contacts of Brian Jones and John Lennon, both of whom appear confident in the prime of youth, unaware of the fates that will befall them. But perhaps this is too much, and Bailey himself would probably tell you so. For him, the flowers, skulls and contacts are simply different projects that he was working on simultaneously and decided to combine because he likes the idea of “eclectic collections”.