David Bailey’s Peru

A new photography book captures the incredible images of the people and places the iconic photographer discovered in South America

Arts 19 Oct 2018

Images from Bailey's Peru © David Bailey
© David Bailey
© David Bailey
© David Bailey
© David Bailey

David Bailey is a name synonymous with photography – immediately recognisable for his Swinging Sixties fashion work and his never-ending list of celebrity portrait subjects. Lesser known, however, is a series of photographs Bailey took in Peru, first for Vogue in 1971 and then Tatler in 1984.

The new book, Bailey’s Peru, showcases the pictures in a beautiful production, alongside words from US Vogue creative director Grace Coddington – who first accompanied Bailey to Peru in 1971 – and journalist and filmmaker Jackie Higgins.

‘The rest of us tagged along to see the world through his eyes,’ says Coddington. ‘It was exciting. He had no fear… I did find myself wondering whether he would get back alive.’

Exploring fashion and documentary simultaneously, Bailey immersed himself in the real Peru on these trips, and this fascinating collection of photographs is the result, showing Bailey for the truly diverse talent he is.

Worlds away from the contemporary shoots of today, which typically involve an enormous crew and strict itinerary, Bailey’s excursions to Peru were pure adventure. He was only accompanied by a couple of assistants and a model.

Planned as “on-location” fashion assignments, the trips evolved, as Bailey quickly became enamoured with the natural beauty of the people and places he visited. From Machu Picchu, Lima, Cusco and Lake Titicaca, Bailey would shoot fashion in the morning and the evening (‘so the models could open their eyes’) and leave the rest of the day to explore and shoot on his own terms.

Shot in both colour and black-and-white, and including many unseen images, Bailey’s Peru captures and celebrates the incredible beauty of the land and its people through the eyes of one of the greatest photographers of all time.

Bailey’s Peru (£50, Heni Publishing) is out in November. An accompanying exhibition opens at Heni Gallery in London from 19 October 2018, Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm, prices available on request; henipublishing.com