The summer blockbuster . . . The biggest exhibition of his work to date
Bailey's Stardust is an outstanding celebration of the work of one of the world's greatest photographers. Shown to huge acclaim on an international tour, it now arrives in Edinburgh and provides a rich survey of David Bailey's achievement. He has, since the early 1960s, been at the forefront of the intersecting arenas of photography, fashion, portraiture and reportage.
Bailey's extraordinary exhibition demonstrates the breadth of his work, encompassing iconic portraits, defining images of London's East End and global photography. The exhibition has been curated by Bailey and its installation in Scotland is being directed by him. It is arranged thematically and the majority of the portraits on show have been newly printed.
Image: David Bailey, Mick Jagger (detail), 1964
© David Bailey
Bailey was born in London's East End and between 1961 and 1968 took photographs of the area prior to its regeneration, portraying people in pubs, clubs and cafés, capturing a social scene that is now almost lost. A selection of these powerful and poignant images will be included in the exhibition.
Key works in the show also come from the seminal David Bailey's Box of Pin-Ups of 1965, a portfolio which included defining images of cultural figures early in their careers, such as John Lennon, Mick Jagger and David Hockney.
Outstanding later examples of portraits by Bailey from the world of fashion range from photographs of the designers Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, to models Jean Shrimpton and Kate Moss.
Bailey has made portraits of many key artists, including painters, film directors, actors and fellow photographers.
Those shown in Bailey's Stardust include Man Ray, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Bill Brandt, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Francis Bacon and Damien Hirst.
Among the musicians Bailey has photographed, The Rolling Stones have a special status, as he has created album and single covers for them, as well as making formal portraits of Mick Jagger, and candid studies on tour.
In 1983 Bailey met the model Catherine Dyer. They married three years later and she became his muse and the mother of his three children. Catherine has been photographed by Bailey in many contexts and a selection of the finest examples of his portraits of her will be on display.
Bailey's Stardust will also showcase photographs created during Bailey's global travels, documenting his encounters with different communities. In 1974 Bailey travelled to Papua New Guinea to make portraits of the tribespeople there. A decade later he took harrowing photographs in refugee camps on the Ethiopian/Sudanese border to highlight the devastating effects of the famine in 1984.
More recently he has undertaken important campaigns of work; for example, in Delhi, where in 2011 he portrayed holy men, waxworks and dioramas in a tribal museum. In 2012 he made an arduous trip to the remote Naga Hills between India and Burma to create portraits of local elders who uphold a traditional way of life.
In addition to over three hundred photographs, the exhibition will feature material from Bailey's personal archive, which includes book and magazine covers.
In 2001 Bailey was appointed CBE for services to art and in 2005 he was awarded the Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal. His work has been widely published and exhibited around the world. Bailey's Stardust is the largest exhibition he has created in the UK and the most extensive photography exhibition ever mounted by the National Galleries of Scotland.
A special feature of the exhibition in Edinburgh will be a gallery entitled MOONGLOW, created by David Bailey, and showcasing his remarkable creativity in a wide range of different media.
MOONGLOW will, for example, include dramatic painted silkscreens on canvas, portraying the artists Francis Bacon and Gilbert & George, that have not previously been exhibited. Also on show will be works from Bailey's Dartmoor Series, which intriguingly exploit the accidental effects of exposing photographs, mounted on canvas, to nature. To create these, Bailey took renowned images of the Kray twins and Catherine Bailey and staked them outdoors on Dartmoor for extended periods.
Bailey explains: 'I started to encourage the effects nature was having . . . I would pour honey or yoghurt, anything to encourage birds and insects . . . I had no control over its progress, just the decision of when to stop the decay . . . I now had an image made by nature.'
MOONGLOW will also feature sculptures which take the form of constructions or miniature cabinets created by Bailey from found objects and wooden boxes, entitled Art Critic, Blake's Red Robin and Nod to The Surrealists. These works relate back to his childhood.
'When I was about seven or eight I used to make small museums . . . My curiosities consisted of a pigeon feather . . . stones from a river, even a bit of shrapnel (from the war) I had saved . . . Later in life I came across Joseph Cornell's boxes - they were an awakening . . . I couldn't resist to do some for myself . . . I hope I have retained my childhood fantasies and a child's great curiosity.'