I saw David Bailey being interviewed at his show at The National Portrait Gallery.
The interviewer gestured around the portrait section.
He said “You really have shot a remarkable number of celebrities.”
Bailey said “Nah, I don’t shoot celebrities.”
The interviewer said “But these are all famous people: Michael Caine, Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Francis Bacon, Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Peter Blake, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, David Bowie, Nelson Mandela, Rudolph Nureyev, Roman Polanski, Gilbert & George, Alexander McQueen, Kenneth Tynan, Noel Gallaher, Bob Geldof, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sean Connery, you can’t say that’s not an impressive list of celebrities.”
Bailey said “Look, I shoot painters, writers, film-makers, actors, musicians, architects, models, even gangsters, I shoot people who do stuff.
Most of them are good at what they do, so they become famous for it.
But first and foremost they’re people who do stuff.”
The interviewer said “Doesn’t that make them celebrities?”
Bailey said “Nah, what’s meant by celebrities is people who are famous for being famous, but they don’t do anything. I don’t photograph them.”