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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