David Bailey was accused as a school boy for “not making the most of his brain,” but his then headmaster tellingly ended his report with: “I feel quite certain that given a calling in which he is interested, he will, make good of himself.”
Wow. Yep. We know.
Bailey curated the Stardust exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery personally, if that’s not a selling point, I don’t know what is. His portraits are mesmerising – sometimes just for the expression, or the pose and of course the person/people he captured (You know them: The Rolling Stones, Kate Moss, Jean Shrimpton, The Krays, Meryl Streep, Warhol), then the historical aspect of a time long gone being saved in these frames of his. His trip to the Sudan in 1984, for no fee, brought their plight into stark focus, whilst the trip to Papua New Guinea brought us the lesser known Kukukuku tribe.
With half term upon us the joys of seeing ‘Under 12s go FREE’ written in black and white is a gift. Why not set your wannabe photographers/artists/budding historians a task or two: Who do you think this is? What do they do? When was this photo taken? Do you LIKE this photo?
They will see an angel, an astronaut and a nuddy lady in a long fur coat. The colourful exuberance of the fashion world and icons is glorious and round the corner sit the black and white portraits of the famous and infamous. East End characters and quite a Democracy of beautiful naked shots (each one the same frame, no touch ups, only the person changes), which SO warrants a chuckle out loud – that’s what kids are for, the grown ups are trying very hard not to notice all the dangly bits.
The wall of family shots is like sneaking a peak into someone’s home – albeit the home of a very beautiful brood. But what got me were the photos of Catherine Bailey having contractions and two Bailey babes being born, still covered in blood, umbilical cord attached. That’s brave and beautiful, and relaxed. My such shots are well hidden away – obviously – my name isn’t Bailey.
In 1971 kids had to pay 15p to get into a David Bailey exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Right here, right now, kids are FREE! It’s cheaper than the 1970s folks (for kids…) so if you can, go and grab some Stardust.
For more details check here.
Other creative nuggets for half term:
The Cat In The Hat at Greenwich Theatre http://www.kidsfunlondon.co.uk/kids-london/event/greenwich-theatre-the-cat-in-the-hat.html
Tales On Moon Lane Half term Literature Festival http://www.kidsfunlondon.co.uk/kids-london/event/tales-on-moon-lane-half-term-festival-february-2014.html
Big and Small Family Day at Tate Britain http://www.kidsfunlondon.co.uk/kids-london/event/tate-britain-big-and-small-family-day.html