The Story of... David Bailey, the '70s Glam rocker and $1m

The photographs of David Bailey are among the strongest and most iconic in the world, and his work remains synonymous with the Swinging '60s.

As a sales exhibition of Bailey's work continues at Bonhams until April 7, Paul Fraser Collectibles asks the question: just how far would Bailey go to capture the perfect shot?

This question is answered, to some extent, in the above excerpt from a documentary on Bailey's photography focussing on his work with US glam rocker, Alice Cooper.

The film's first half examines Bailey and Cooper's photoshoot for Vogue, the perennial fashion Bible.

As Cooper states in the above video, Bailey's house was "the party central" whose location inspired an intoxicated push of the boundaries of taste, via black and white photography.

In an era when navels were airbrushed from Vogue's models for fear of indecency, the images of the young glam rocker whose star was on the rise posed a whole new threat.

As Cooper himself says: "it was the photographers who told Vogue what was cool, not the other way round..."

However, the question of how far Bailey would go was answered more fully in his photoshoot for Alice Cooper's classic Billion Dollar Babies LP, released in 1973...

Representing the band at their commercial peak, the album's cover art concept was simple: a baby and the band surrounded by $1m.

Unbelievably, daubing the baby with face paint - to resemble Cooper - wasn't the most controversial thing to happen in the session.

That accolade was achieved by the decision to use $1m in real money for the photographs.

With guards on standby with automatic weapons, a scene of chaos ensued when Bailey decided to the take a photograph of the $1m being thrown into the air...

Three decades later, the above video offers a fascinating glimpse at what happens when the worlds of art and rock 'n' roll collide.

Meanwhile, Bonhams ongoing sales exhibition focuses on Bailey's iconic 1960s photography prior to his '70s work with Alice Cooper.

The expo began on March 7 and continues until April 7, featuring the likes of Mick Jagger, Michael Caine, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

 

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