How refreshing to see a photographic exhibition of genuine celebrities spanning the last 50 years! I visited David Bailey's 'Stardust' exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery recently and was impressed firstly by the sheer number of images, there are over 300, curated by Bailey himself, then by the quality of the subjects that Bailey had photographed since the early 60s. He has captured actors, writers, rock stars, filmmakers, artists, designers, models and also people that he met on his travels. Bailey is known for his work with celebrities but he is also a photojournalist.
The largest exhibition of David Bailey's portraits, it includes the Rolling Stones (who have their own room), Bob Dylan, Dali, Warhol, Michael Caine, Kate Moss and Jean Shrimpton to name a few. I have to admit that some of these iconic portraits looked familiar to me and I had been unaware they were by Bailey. Some portraits show the subject in character, or performing, like Jack Nicholson laughing like a maniac, to George Michael looking unsure of himself, to the piercing gaze of Bob Dylan.
The majority of the portraits are in black and white. Bailey said in an interview recently that "colour distracts you, with black and white you go straight to the image". Indeed, portraits that are done in black and white tend to add an additional layer of complexity to their subject. Good portraits pull you in, and it is possible you may need an additional hour to wander around the themed rooms more than once to admire all these wonderful faces.
As a result, I have been inspired to take more black and white portraits in my sessions! Get in touch through the Contact Form
if you would like to see my Baileyesque take on you!
Bailey’s Stardust runs from 6 February to 1 June, 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery. www.npg.org.uk