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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> QOTD: David Bailey
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10/12/2002 10:09:21 AM · #1

"It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer. You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things. But in photography everything is so ordinary; it takes a lot of looking before you learn to see the ordinary."

David Bailey (b. 1938 - London)

Learn more about David Bailey HERE.

10/12/2002 10:41:52 AM · #2
I definetly agree that " "It takes a lot of imagination to be a good photographer." For the very reason he states about about "seeing." But I disagree with "You need less imagination to be a painter, because you can invent things." I've done a little painting, and it also takes lots of imagination, imo.
10/12/2002 10:44:25 AM · #3
To invent things well you certainly do need a good imagination!
To me, what he says contradicts himself.
10/12/2002 10:46:30 AM · #4
I have to disagree with this one. It's just wrong. Imagination is imagination...how can you quantify the amount of imagination someone else uses to produce their art?
10/12/2002 11:32:16 AM · #5
Originally posted by Lisa:
I have to disagree with this one. It's just wrong. Imagination is imagination...how can you quantify the amount of imagination someone else uses to produce their art?


I think the quote is trying to say that he thinks it is easier when you can
conjour everything out of thin air, with your imagination, like
a painter can do - you can change elements in a landscape if you are
painting it, ignore the rubbish or the tourists etc.

The imagination Bailey is talking about is just a different application
of imagination which is fairly unique to photography. To be able
to look at an ordinary thing and see it as something else or to see
it as its fundamental shapes make it. To be able to disassociate in
your mind from what something actually is and explore it for what it
looks like. The garbage challenge should have been a prime opportunity
for people to do that. To look past what things are 'called' and explore
how it can be seen. Whether people achieved that or not is perhaps
best left to their own judgement rather than the DPC voters.

10/12/2002 02:48:57 PM · #6
Thanks John. I was unfamiliar with this photographer, and I absolutely love his images. I am a HUGE fan of black and white.
Linda
10/12/2002 02:54:42 PM · #7
It's a stupid statement. And if David Bailey really meant something else then it is stupidly worded. There's is no way for someone to know the amount of imagination and thought that someone puts into their work.

T
10/12/2002 03:16:57 PM · #8
I agree that the wording is probably all wrong, but there is some merit to what he is saying...
10/12/2002 03:28:10 PM · #9
I'm just a little edgy this morning : ) Still trying to get my morning coffee down.

I have worked real hard to try to be creative with my artwork and it is sometimes very difficult. The art usually doesn't start with anything so it has to be thought up and created. This takes a great deal of imagination on many levels. That's why it is refreshing to me to mix my art with photography because they require different kinds of imagination, and helps me learn the complete package. I can always go out with my camera and come back with something interesting but I am not always prepared to sit down with a blank piece of paper or canvas and create something interesting. They are just different disciplines.

T
10/12/2002 03:37:07 PM · #10
David Bailey was one of those Carnaby Street pseuds we all wanted to be back in 1964 and 1965. He was even more self-important in person than the Hemmings character in "Blow Up".
10/12/2002 04:17:41 PM · #11
looking thru bailey's gallery, i see emotion: stark B&W's of people on white backgrounds. it appears that the main element that he is concerned with capturing is emotion. in that respect i can see what he is saying thru that quote--that it is extremely difficult to look at everyday things and imagine them in a context thru which is appealing and has impact. do we not struggle with this every challenge? i have heard countless times in these forums (and have said it myself) that during every challenge i find myself seeing the world thru the eyes of that challenge. i have been busted staring at the contents of trashcans, driving my friends crazy picking out every red thing that existed around me and even spending a good deal of my time with my head turned sideways trying to see things from an upside down perspective. and thru every challenge, i have been doing something extremely difficult---trying to see something, anything in the ordinary. to me, baileys pictures are simplistic (albeit difficult) portraits of people--but they grab you immediately because he has thru his imagination, managed to capture something about them--some emotive quality that draws you into the picture.
10/12/2002 08:21:39 PM · #12
I esp. like the johnny dep photo.. I like the pose, and I think it is one where he has captured the personality rather than the image of a star...

I think you need imagination in any art form.. whether it be photography, painting, or music, etc..

I can't paint.. so I would like to "paint" with my photos.



* This message has been edited by the author on 10/12/2002 8:21:44 PM.
10/13/2002 05:35:18 AM · #13
[this post deleted due to excessive sarcasm]

* This message has been edited by the author on 10/13/2002 5:51:07 AM.
10/13/2002 10:25:15 AM · #14
I agree completely with Gordon's comment on this quote... I also don't believe that the amount of imagination used by photographers or other artists can be quantified and compared.

I think the point is that a photographer does NOT get to start from a clean canvas. :)


10/13/2002 11:57:04 AM · #15
Can't a studio photographer start with a clean canvas?

I really find this quote to be rather meaningless. At least, extremely poorly worded.

10/13/2002 12:00:46 PM · #16
Originally posted by Zeissman:
Can't a studio photographer start with a clean canvas?

I really find this quote to be rather meaningless. At least, extremely poorly worded.



You could look at it that way, but then you have to deal with imperfections in the subject that you are photographing in the studio...


10/13/2002 02:46:10 PM · #17
I guess the limit is, the photographer has to use items in the real world, while a painter can create whatever comes to mind. Is that what he meant?
10/13/2002 03:05:04 PM · #18
Originally posted by Zeissman:
I guess the limit is, the photographer has to use items in the real world, while a painter can create whatever comes to mind. Is that what he meant?

I think that could be some of it :)
10/13/2002 03:16:57 PM · #19
Do we? What about infrared photography? or B&W photography? i don't think people see in B&W or Infrared :) In a sense photographers are creating something because when the image is put on film or CCD or whatever, it doesn't represent "reality" any more than a painting of the same scene. COlor shifts, details are lost, etc. And we selectively remove elements from photographs too, so we also limit the viewer to see what we want them to see.

i think the author's quote is as poorly worded as Erwitts, but at least Bailey's work is more interesting than Erwitt's. Then again, I've never liked photojournalistic style.


Originally posted by Zeissman:
I guess the limit is, the photographer has to use items in the real world, while a painter can create whatever comes to mind. Is that what he meant?



10/13/2002 03:22:11 PM · #20
I'm not here to argue how a quote is worded... I'm not here to argue whether the quote is right or wrong...

I just thought it was an interesting quote...

:)

10/13/2002 05:11:21 PM · #21
You're right, it is an interesting quote. But I don't think you could possibly describe it as being either right or wrong - it's just an opinion. Just because he's a famous person who most other people in his field regard as being a genius, it doesn't mean that his opinions MUST be right.

I don't know whether Bailey has actually ever tried painting or not, but I've tried it myself and it does take a hell of a lot of imagination. I think the point he's trying to make is that with a canvas you can start from scratch and make the painting look as beautiful as you want; you can make mistakes, erase them and correct them. But with a photograph you have to just take what's actually there in front of you and FIND a way of making it beautiful. Either way it does take a lot of hard work to come out with some good stuff - I just think his view is slightly biased towards photography.

You can't say that any of the stuff that Picasso, Rembrandt or Da Vinci did was easy - it took a lifetime's worth of practise.
10/13/2002 05:42:56 PM · #22
Photography takes a different kind of imagination than painting... whether or not one takes more than the other... who knows? :)
10/13/2002 06:23:15 PM · #23
I agree Pag,

I was just trying to understand what the egomaniac was talking about. I think his point was, we have to use thing that actually exist to make photographs, we have to use a sort of reality to create our images, however abstract we desire the result. In some ways, a photography could get away with less. He just has to be able to recognize a good scene when he sees one. I would definitely saw I fall into that catagory.

To his main point, he is full of it, and is trying to put down other artists, to elevate himself. All art takes imagination and creativity.

Originally posted by paganini:
Do we? What about infrared photography? or B&W photography? i don't think people see in B&W or Infrared :) In a sense photographers are creating something because when the image is put on film or CCD or whatever, it doesn't represent "reality" any more than a painting of the same scene. COlor shifts, details are lost, etc. And we selectively remove elements from photographs too, so we also limit the viewer to see what we want them to see.

i think the author's quote is as poorly worded as Erwitts, but at least Bailey's work is more interesting than Erwitt's. Then again, I've never liked photojournalistic style.


Originally posted by Zeissman:
[i]I guess the limit is, the photographer has to use items in the real world, while a painter can create whatever comes to mind. Is that what he meant?




[/i]

10/13/2002 06:26:28 PM · #24
I wonder if his comment was a backlash to the problems photography has had being accepted as art.




* This message has been edited by the author on 10/13/2002 10:59:18 PM.
10/13/2002 08:03:48 PM · #25
The quote is attention-grabbing and yes, very contentious. But, if you have not yet clicked on the link for his gallery, then you should really have a glimpse at the man's work. It fits my scrutiny of superior portraiture work and has a unique styling and a definite individual methodology to it. In a sense, it reminds me a bit of Karsh. Any commnets?
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