David Bailey

Portrait of David Bailey

The Valleys Project presented a challenge to David Bailey, a photographer obviously more used to subjects of glamorous proportions.

When questioned as to why he particularly wanted to work on this project, his answer was that he had for a long time been interested in photographing the urban landscape; indeed he had been doing just that for himself, but he felt he needed a focus for an idea to intensify his concentration by working within a very disciplined context. Bailey had no preconceptions when he began working, and his visual responses to this particular environment are significant, given his emotional perception of the area, which was, on the whole pessimistic. In this set of photographs, with a few exceptions, Bailey has made reference to the past and his is not so much a precise and lucid description of significant fact, but utilising austere printing methods, an attempt to load his subject matter with a dark narrative alluding to the area’s history.


David Bailey - The Valleys Project, 1985