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 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 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.

You might also like the best film cameras, the best camera for portraits and the best professional cameras.

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Lauren Scott
Freelance contributor/former Managing Editor

Lauren is a writer, reviewer, and photographer with ten years of experience in the camera industry. She's the former Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, and previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, Technique editor for PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, and Deputy Editor of our sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine. An experienced journalist and freelance photographer, Lauren also has bylines at Tech Radar, Space.com, Canon Europe, PCGamesN, T3, Stuff, and British Airways' in-flight magazine (among others). When she's not testing gear for DCW, she's probably in the kitchen testing yet another new curry recipe or walking in the Cotswolds with her Flat-coated Retriever.