Arts, Showbiz

Bailey’s East End: A return home for world-famous photographer – Jamie Tuohy

World-renowned photographer David Bailey has photographed everyone from The Beatles, Mick Jagger and Andy Warhol to Kate Moss and Jerry Hall. His iconic photography and keen eye for social nuances helped him to capture, create and define the ‘Swinging Sixties’. To those who think of Bailey as merely a fashion or portrait photographer, his latest exhibition might come as surprise, but for those who are familiar with his diverse interests, Bailey’s East End will be a true reflection on a world-famous photographer who never forgot his East End roots.

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Christchurch at Spitalfields, 1962
Image: David Bailey

The exhibition, which is running at Compressor House in East London from July 6 – August 5 hosts a series of images, split into three parts. There are black and white street shots, modern digital street shots and a wide array of large colour prints, featuring images from the 60s to the present day. Essentially, it’s constructed on the basis of images from the 60s, 80s and recent years. Bailey has said that he has abandoned fashion photography and the exhibition houses candid shots of London’s East End residents, touching landscapes and famous portraits, including one of notorious London gangsters, the Kray twins.

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Bailey captured this man in 1968.
Image: David Bailey

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Bailey’s wife Catherine in 1983 at Silvertown Docks
Image: David Bailey

Bailey’s East End is part of the Create 2012 programme, which aims to “bring creative and inspiring art to hundreds of people” and seeks to nurture creative ambitions within the community. Not completely ignoring fashion, the former Vogue photographer has included some famous faces in the exhibition, but they are juxtaposed amongst towering cranes and changing streetscapes. As well as documenting the East End’s transformation over the years, Bailey includes some images from the streets of Stratford, as preparations are underway for the 2012 Olympics.

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Two women in Newham, 2007
Image: David Bailey

 For over 50 years, David Bailey has been one of the world’s most successful photographers and his new exhibition is not only a tribute to place he came from, but a representation of the enormous achievement of one of the East End’s most famous son’s. Speaking about his return to his home place David said, “London’s East End is in my DNA and I’m thrilled to be able to return to my roots in Newham. Now the rest of the world will focus on an area I’ve been looking at all my life”.

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