David Bailey's East End

An exhibition of David Bailey photographs of the East End taken over 50 years

‘With enough material here to think about for months, interesting and beautiful and full of rich allusions to other photographers, other artists, it’s a 50 year retrospective in all but name.’ – The Financial Times

David Bailey is Newham’s most famous son. This exhibition of his work, pictures of the East End taken over 50 years, saw him return to the borough.

David Bailey’s East End featured many previously unseen photographs and concentrated on three eras: 1960s, 1980s and recent years.  It documented the changing physical and social landscapes of the Newham area through streetscapes, characters and scenes of east London life.

Some famous faces appear in Bailey’s works but they are nestled in among the renowned ‘faces’ of the area. Bailey’s photographs also provide a visual record of the different groups of immigrants who have settled in this part of the city.

The exhibition took place in London’s first new Enterprise Zone – the Royal Docks, which was the largest man-made Docks in the world when constructed 150 years ago, and provided an opportunity for audiences to view the historic industrial building, Compressor House for the first time.

Special events for elderly residents of Newham took place, offering a chance for local people who remembered the areas and people depicted in Bailey’s photos over the decades to share their stories of the changes they had seen.

A special photography competition, in partnership with Time Out, opened up the exhibition to potential audiences in an entirely new and interactive way as people were invited to submit their own East End photos. The ten finalists were voted for by the public ‘liking’ them on Time Out’s Facebook channel. Merchandise was produced in the form of a set of limited edition collector’s postcards, a souvenir exhibition brochure and a souvenir canvas bag.