London Diaries Part 5 - National Portrait Gallery

David Bailey's Stardust at the National Portrait Gallery is what I expected, lots of beautiful pictures of beautiful people. The exhibition was split into themes and also included a few sculptures by David Bailey. 

David Bailey has made an outstanding contribution to photography and the visual arts, creating consistently imaginative and thought-provoking portraits. As well as new work, this landmark exhibition includes a wide variety of Bailey’s photographs from a career that has spanned more than half a century.

Bailey’s Stardust is presented thematically across a series of contrasting rooms and illustrates the extraordinary range of subjects that Bailey has captured: actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels; many of them famous, some anonymous, all of them unforgettable.

Rooms are devoted to Bailey’s time in East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Delhi and the Naga Hills, as well as icons from the worlds of fashion and the arts, striking portraits of the Rolling Stones and Catherine Bailey and people of the East End of London.

Featuring over 250 images, personally selected and printed by Bailey, the exhibition offers an unmissable opportunity to experience the work of one of the world’s greatest image-makers.

In an interview with the Independent, David Bailey said we should not look at this exhibition as a retrospective. 

“But it is not a retrospective,” he stresses. “It’s in no order whatsoever and it’s not about looking back. I’m still working flat out. I’ve got a lot of work left in me.”

There was no photography allowed at this exhibition, but I found this video on Vogue which includes a video with David Bailey and images from the exhibition. Watch it if you want to know what the exhibition looks like.    

The Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2013

I managed to catch the last couple of days of the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition, also at the National Portrait Gallery. It included some very striking, beautiful and raw portraits.  

You can see the winning photos here. My favourite is the fourth place winner, The Twins by Dorothee Deiss.


The Twins by Dorothee Deiss, 2013 © Dorothee Deiss

Her portrait, from her project VisibleInvisible, is of twin sisters she visited in their house. She says: 'I took a lot of more conventional portraits of them but when I found the bathrobe in a corner, perfectly fitting to the bedspread, that was when I knew I had the picture'.