[February 20 2015]
SVEN SCHUMANN — Do you approach a self-portrait differently than a portrait of somebody else?
DAVID BAILEY — No. It’s all the same. I take the same picture I’ve always taken. I try to find something that’s already there. I don’t look for something new. Most people bend over, climb a tree, or build fucking palm trees in the background. You don’t need all that. The person is the thing that counts. All the palm trees are going to do is distract from the person. Everything you want to photograph is already there. You just have to see it.
SVEN SCHUMANN — Has the mobile phone killed the art of the self-portrait?
DAVID BAILEY — I didn’t even know what a “selfie” was for the longest time. I was with Bruce Weber, and we were both being interviewed, and this journalist said to us, “Do you do selfies?” And I thought, “Well, this is a bit outrageous for New York. I expect it in England, but I don’t expect someone to ask me if I masturbate in America!” [Laughs] I thought it was masturbation! When she explained to me what it was, I realized I was right in the first place. It is masturbation. No one’s interested in that except your girlfriend, your mother, and the police. At least they’re not wasting film…