David Bailey: Stardust

RSY_8739-1024x680Words by Billie Jenkins

We have all seen David Bailey. The greats of so many walks of life have fallen under his eye, his images are a part of our culture now (the Kray Twins reputation will be long gone before Baileys portrait, his is as quintessential Jack Nicholson as ’Here’s Johnny’). What makes this exhibition worth more is that it’s images are all chosen by the photographer himself. We get a chance to see what a man who saw the fascinating in others finds most fascinating. The inclusion of Papua New Guinea portraits is satisfying, after the much overlooked exhibition at the Daniel Blau in 2012 it’s pleasing that the non-stellar subjects get their deserving place amongst the others. But my, how many stars do fill the walls.

There are no highlights, they are all highlights. Yet the less trodden paths are the best. Bailey has a collection at this weeks London Fashion week, where his most replicated images are pasted across t-shirts and alike. We all know these images to well, they are the Mona Lisa’s of the modern celebrity world. But it is the candid shots of the impoverished East End Bailey grew up in, strangers on his travels and an unseen before photo of Man Ray that really grab attention. Here we see the talent that came before the hype of the fame he shot. Go bask in it, you won’t regret it.

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