David Bailey’s centenarians (Interview: Sally Williams/Photo: David Bailey)
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David Bailey’s centenarians (Interview: Sally Williams/Photo: David Bailey)

The Guardian


In 2014 David Bailey, at 76, walked into a studio in London to photograph some of Britain’s oldest people. The youngest was just 100; the oldest 107. Dressed in a baggy polo shirt and a pair of old combat trousers, small but physically imposing, Bailey flirted, flattered and insulted his subjects in order to get the picture he wanted. He worked at an incredible pace – nine portraits in four hours, and on subjects with a collective age of 917 years. “I’ve always wanted to photograph old people,” he said at one point, after pinning one centenarian in a forensic close-up. This 2014 Weekend cover featured his portrait of former farmer and marathon runner Fauja Singh, 103, who was born in Bias Pind, in the Punjab, India, where his father was a farmer. He married Gian Kaur in 1928 and was widowed in 1992. After moving to England, he ran the 2000 London Marathon – his first – at 89. Issue 01/11/2014.


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