Bailey: For Real

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'Uncharted – East End', 1961

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

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'Uncharted – East End', 1962

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

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'Uncharted – Delhi Dilemma', 2011

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

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'Uncharted – Still Life'

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

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'Uncharted – Naga Hills', 2012

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

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'Uncharted – East End', 1962

© David Bailey, courtesy: Daniel Blau Munich/London

Free

Aside to his iconic portraits of the glamorous elite, David Bailey has also pursued capturing the everyday throughout his career. This show focuses on the lesser-known aspect of Bailey’s oeuvre with bleak shots of East London in the 1960s to portraits of unknowns in Delhi.

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Curated London

This exhibition of 40 of David Bailey’s black and white photos was evidently timed to coincide with Bailey’s Stardust, the major retrospective which recently closed at the National Portrait Gallery. However, this one doesn’t stand up alongside that impressive exhibition, despite its wide range, from his early shots of the East End to his recent stint taking pictures of a disappearing India, via his portraits of pop and movie icons.


It’s not helped by the fact that most of the photos are printed onto torn pieces of photographic paper with ragged edges. Yes, that makes each one unique; but it doesn’t serve the compositions well – except for a wonderful shot of the Indian film-maker Satyajit Ray’s eyes staring sternly at you down the gallery. Ultimately, if you’re going to buy an original David Bailey print, you probably don’t want it to look as if you’ve rummaged through his bin to get it.  


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