David Bailey

There is only one David Bailey, and we are delighted to feature his 2006 Havana book, now into its second edition. He writes that this is, “just a superficial look, not a soul searching investigation, a quick impression of a place…”, perhaps he is simply being modest since he also states that “from the vibrant street reportage to searing portraiture, this book offers a quintessential view of a city.” From our perspective this is quality, not especially original or distinct but quality nonetheless and the lack of pretension in the introduction from someone who is world famous appeals.

In his own words:
“My book Havana is just a superficial look, not a soul searching investigation, a quick impression of a place that is unique in it’s geographical position, being much closer to the United States of America than the space station. Both are places ordinary Americans cannot visit. To be one of the poorest nations on Earth, almost within spitting distance of the richest, makes the poverty of Cuba seem more extreme. Two countries with extreme ideologies; the small one proving that Communism does not work, the other proving that democratic paranoia does work if the power and the money are in place.” David Bailey

Havana shows Bailey at the height of his powers, producing photographs that reflect his mastery of the full range of the distinct genres of the medium. From vibrant street reportage to seering portraiture, this book offers a quintessential view of a city which is the touchstone for one of the most distinct cultural and political divides in a world fast moving towards homogeneity.

About David Bailey

David Bailey CBE
David Bailey was born in 1938 in London. He taught himself photography, and in 1959, following a year serving with the Royal Air Force in Malaysia, he began his long and distinguished career when he was appointed as a photographic assistant at the John French Studio in London.

Bailey started as a fashion photographer for Vogue Magazine in 1960, and subsequently as a freelance photographer who has worked for every major publication in the world. From 1966 he also directed television commercials and documentaries.

In 1975 he became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers. In 1979 he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

Bailey has held numerous personal exhibitions in London and worldwide (Finland, Sweden, the United States of America, Germany and Italy). He has also produced numerous publications, from his first publication Box of Pinups in 1964 to Archive Two — Locations in 2003 and Bailey’s Democracy due to be published Nov 2005. His television work includes documentaries on photographers and directors including Cecil Beaton, Andy Warhol and Luciano Visconti. He also wrote and directed a short film called The Lady is a Tramp, to coincide with the publication of his book of the same name in 1995.

David is one of the world’s leading photographers and short film directors. In 2001 he was awarded a CBE in recognition of his achievements, and the University of Plymouth is proud to be able to add its own recognition of his outstanding contribution by awarding him an honorary degree.


  • Catedral de La Habana

    Catedral de La Habana  LH 5+

    The entry of the Jesuits in Cuba was formally requested in 1656, and in 1727, a plot was granted for their school and church. Bishop Brother Gerónimo Valdés explained to the King of Spain that Havana’ …

    The Malecón

    The Malecón  LH 5+

    The Malecón, first named Avenida del Golfo, is Cuba’s most famous sea-side avenue. The project was undertaken by Don Francisco de Albear, Cuba’s greatest engineer at the time. Albear came up with a co …

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)

    Museo de la Ciudad (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)  LH 5

    History & architecture Considered the most important example of baroque architecture in the city, this grand building on the west side of the plaza was built in 1792, on the sight of the former pa …

    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula

    Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula  LH 5

    In 1664 the Presbyter of the Cathedral of Havana, don Nicolás Estévez Borges, ordered the construction of a chapel devoted to Saint Francis of Paola (founder of the Roman Catholic Order of the Minims) …

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar

    Iglesia de Jesús de Miramar  LH 5

    Opened in 1953, this is Cuba’s second largest church, which is visible for several blocks due to its vast dome built in Roman-Byzantine style. The Jesús de Miramar church boasts 14 large mural paintin …

    Edificio Bacardí

    Edificio Bacardí  LH 5

    The first and main exponent of art deco in the city belonged to Emilio Bacardí and was the home to his famous rum company. After winning the contest held by Bacardí, architects E. Rodríguez, R. Fernán …

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam

    Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam  LH 5+

    The north-west corner of the square is occupied by the 18th-century Casa de los Condes de Peñalver, which has at different times served as a post office, a bank and a school. Today, it houses the Cent …

    Plaza Vieja

    Plaza Vieja  LH 5+

    The 16th-century Plaza Vieja has always been a residential rather than a military, religious or administrative space, and is surrounded by elegant colonial residences, combined with a few very strikin …

    Paseo del Prado

    Paseo del Prado  LH 5+

    In colonial times, this promenade received several names, including Nuevo Prado, Alameda de Extramuros, Paseo de Isabel II and Paseo del Prado, and with cuba’s independecne, it became Paseo de Martí. …

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced

    Convento e Iglesia de la Merced  LH 5

    Built between 1865 and 1867, this is arguably one of Havana’s most lush churches. The temple stands opposite a small square and its façade, constructed in Baroque style, features the principal door wi …

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