The National Portrait Gallery is currently exhibiting work by photographer David Bailey, and I headed down after work last Friday to check it out. Stardust brings together work from his entire career, which has lasted for several decades.
Bailey is famous for his celebrity portraits, and there are plenty of those here, including images of Kate Moss, Johnny Depp, Mick Jagger and more. Most are black and white pictures, taken against a plain white background. Interestingly, I thought, this style of photography makes the images look timeless. Only the ages of the recognisable subjects, and occasionally the clothes they were wearing, gave any indication that they were not taken recently.
Celebrities are not Bailey’s only subjects, however. He has taken photos in East Africa, Papua New Guinea and Australia among other places. Many of these photos are portraits against plain backgrounds, some in black and white. There is a democracy to his images, I think, in that by taking photos of celebrities and of indigenous peoples Bailey is showing how they are all the same.
Overall, an interesting exhibition – worth a visit before it closes on 1 June.