David Balie a Lens man who crafted swinging 60s

David Balie a filmgoer who has fascination of silver screen and the images right from his childhood.  His housed was bombed when he was three and use to stay in Leytonstone and just next street East End where Alfred Hitchcock is borne. Mickey Mouse and Bambi have been his childhood fantasies. He started his career in 1960 with John French studio, as assistant, later he started shooting the fashion photography for Vogue.  He clicked many celebrities, actors and musicians. He captured the swinging 60s with his lens. Michelangelo Antonioni, made a film on London Photographer and his life, 1966 film Blowup. It was the recognition David Balie. It happiness very rarely, that when you are alive a film maker get inspired by your work and makes a film on you. It is one of its kind examples.  He later on clicked photos of Terence Stamp, The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Jean Shrimpton, PJ Proby, Cecil Beaton, Rudolf Nureyev, Andy Warhol and East End gangsters, the Kray twins. Everybody to him as a subject and camera has been his pen. He write a visual history of that period.

David Balie explored his skills in television commercials, documentaries on Beaton, Warhol and Visconti. He also made music videos of Rolling Stones.

He is been awarded in 2005 by Royal Photographic Society for his contribution for the art of photography. He always uses to say, anybody can be a great photographer if they zoom in enough on what they love. He had his own inclination while clicking the photo. He loved his craft. He experimented in his own way. He left school at his 15th birthday. All he learned was on his own.

In last 50 years of his career nobody has told him what to shoot and how to shoot. It is just he took photos, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar liked it.

He is the man who not only framed 60s but created a new chapter in fashion, modern and social photography. He well knew for his black and white portraits. If we see his color photos we find all the aesthetics of modern world. He never stuck himself in a particular era or style.  To call him a fashion photographer will be injustice his monstrous work. He clicked everything which he liked. On 6th February 2014 Vogue will be publishing his work and contribution to them over last 50 years.

He admires Bob Dylan and his singing. David as he has been the witness of WW II it has left a long impact on him. He always say, life has taught me, expects the unexpected. When asked what will be happiest moment for him in life? He answered, just one more day. He has been a liberal and always worried about communal violence. David Bailey’s Box Of Pin-Ups got published in 1964 and he gave his newly found aesthetics for poster.

David Balie is few of those photographers who has practiced film and digital both mediums. He left his mark on the world of photography. He himself is an institution; it is an opportunity for all photographers to jump on the work of David Balie. Let’s grab the issue of February and see how an enthusiast became a legend.


Published by Rahul Mate

Passionate about cinema, fine art, literature and photography, while teaching in media school Rahul Mate makes a little change into the life of people by connecting them with world of creative freedom.

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