David Bailey’s Stardust

In a 50-odd year career, superstar photographer David Bailey has run up a list of subjects that reads like a 20th century who’s who.

Jerry Hall and Helmut Newton, Cannes by David Bailey, 1983

Source: © David Bailey

Jerry Hall and Helmut Newton, Cannes by David Bailey, 1983

From Kate Moss to the Rolling Stones to Damon Albarn and Francis Bacon, Bailey has snapped some of the most famous faces of the last five decades.

The National Portrait Gallery is now hosting a blockbuster retrospective of Bailey’s career, featuring more than 300 portraits across the gallery’s ground floor.

Kate Moss by David Bailey, 2013

Source: © David Bailey

Kate Moss by David Bailey, 2013

As well as notable photographers, actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, fashion icons, designers, models and artists; portraits from Bailey’s extensive travels are also on show, with iconic images presented alongside lesser-known works.

From the series Nagaland by David Bailey, 2012

Source: © David Bailey

From the series Nagaland by David Bailey, 2012

The show is entitled Stardust, referring to ‘the notion we are all made from, and return to, “stardust’”’, according to the National Portrait Gallery.

Among our favourites is this sultry, haunting portrait of Bailey’s wife Catherine:

Catherine Bailey by David Bailey, 1989

Source: © David Bailey

Catherine Bailey by David Bailey, 1989

And this gorgeous image of Blur frontman Damon Albarn, looking sweetly vulnerable:

 Damon Albarn by David Bailey, 2007

Source: © David Bailey

Damon Albarn by David Bailey, 2007

The works in the show are arranged thematically, with rooms devoted to The Rolling Stones, Bailey’s travels in Australia, Delhi and the Naga Hills, the 1960s Box of Pin Ups works, Catherine Bailey, and icons of fashion and arts.

From the series Papua New Guinea by David Bailey, 1974

Source: © David Bailey

From the series Papua New Guinea by David Bailey, 1974

A section entitled Bailey’s Democracy shows portraits of people taken when ‘people visiting [Bailey’s] studio were asked if they would agree to be photographed naked’, according to the gallery – a request we can’t help but feel few other people would be able to get away with.

Bailey’s Stardust, sponsored by HUGO BOSS, runs until 1 June at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H. For more information visit www.npg.org.uk

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