David Bailey is selling a rare series of his private Polaroids

David Bailey polaroids
Polaroid of Princess Diana (Image credit: David Bailey)

David Bailey CBE is one of the most famous names in photography worldwide, and now for the first time ever, a rare collection of Polaroid prints from his 63-year career is going on sale to collectors.

The subjects are as renowned as the photographer himself and include Princess Diana, Cara Delevingne and self-portraits of David Bailey himself, as well as still-life compositions, and instant snapshots.

The Polaroids will be on sale at Dellasposa Gallery (opens in new tab) in London, but interestingly, collectors won't know which Polaroid they're getting, as each one is sealed inside an envelope signed by the photographer himself.

The full collection of Bailey Polaroids going up for sale (Image credit: David Bailey)

David Bailey is one of several artists who captured polaroids; a legendary group including Andy Warhol, David Hockney and Ansel Adams.

The rise of instant Polaroid photography in the 1950s gave Bailey countless opportunities to capture the icons he met. Of course, the three-by-four-inch Polaroid image is now iconic itself – there's a reason that the best instant cameras (opens in new tab) are back in fashion and rising in popularity today.

For collectors who want to own an original print by Bailey, a Polaroid could be the easiest and cheapest way to do that.

Jean Shrimpton and David Bailey (Image credit: David Bailey)

About David Bailey

David Bailey CBE was born on January 2, 1938 in North Leyton, East London.

He bought his first camera whilst posted in Singapore with the Royal Air Force, and was said to have become inspired to become a photographer after seeing Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph, ‘Srinagar, Kashmir’.

David Bailey went on to work as an assistant to fashion photographer John French, soon to strike out on his own as a portrait photographer. 

In 1965, he published David Bailey’s Box of Pin-Ups, a collection of 36 prints, now widely acknowledged as defining an era and shaping the future of photography.

He was prolific in the 1970s and ’80s, capturing portraits of artists such as Alice Cooper, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Elton John and Cat Stevens – as well as Oasis siblings Noel and Liam Gallagher.

 David Bailey is also a filmmaker, has directed hundreds of TV commercials, and won a Lion d’Or at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival for his Greenpeace PSA, Meltdown. His six-decade-long career has seen him release over 46 books.

Other David Bailey exhibitions

Bailey: Vision and Sound is currently at the Dellasposa Gallery, a celebratory exhibition of David Bailey's portraits of legendary musicians over the past six decades. It will be on show until January 28, 2023. Check out the online viewing room for the exhibition (opens in new tab).

You might also like the best film cameras (opens in new tab), the best camera for portraits (opens in new tab) and the best professional cameras (opens in new tab).

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 

An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)

In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.