Thursday, 27 March 2014
I was around Trafalgar Square when I remembered that the NPG has the Bailey 'Stardust' exhibition running. Leytonstone lad David Bailey curated the exhibition himself, and it spans both well known faces and some of his projects including his home turf of East End London but also Sudan, Australia and India.
The pictures were re-printed for the show, with Bailey's supervision, and there's plenty of big format striking monochromes to view. Often portraits shot against a plain background, yet pulling plenty from the faces and expressions, whether of well-known folk or simply of locals in a pub.
The top picture here is a Bailey self portrait, east-end pub, woman outside, but look carefully and there's Bailey with his camera framed in the middle.
It's at odds with many of his portraits against clean backgrounds. Bailey fills the frame along with distinct contrasts and shadows. On one of Man Ray, he's featured the eye and nose; with a picture of Cartier-Bresson, the man as a subject is elusive, with his Leica to the forefront.
There's the full set of his 'Pinups' set along a wall of a room, all sized like so many black and white album cover prints, and all fascinating to study.
Curiously, the colour pictures have a kind of deep and slightly(to me) off-kilter saturation, which suggested something from another time - maybe that's the point.
It's one of those shows where I thought, 'wow, that's a striking picture' as I walked in and then kept thinking it over and over again as I walked around.
Yep, Bailey has sprinkled stardust throughout this show.