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Reiss Loves: David Bailey's East End

21.07.12

"My mother was from Bow, my father it seems was from Hackney, my grandfather from Bethnal Green. Before him they were all from Whitechapel as far as records show... I have over the years spent many weekends shooting whatever took my fancy." (David Bailey)

David Bailey's east end exhibition has come at a time when east London is considered fashionable and booming and its boroughs are seen as a destination for creative people.

However, Bailey came up with the idea for an east end project way back in the 1980s, when the London Docks (where the exhibition is being held) had originally closed down.

The exhibition, which shows Bailey's photographs of his native east end dating back fifty years, is not a striking or shocking exhibition, but nostalgic and affectionate.

Showing characters and scenes no longer found, it is a reminder of a forgotten era and underlines London’s diversity and its on-going transformation.

"Life would be boring if it wasn't changing. It happens in London more than any other place in the world." (David Bailey)

But the view that London is an exciting capital is not new news. After all, it was seventeenth century writer, Samuel Pepys, who once said: “If one is tired of London then one if tired of life.” (1720)

David Bailey's East End continues to run at the Royal Docks, Dockside Road, Newham, London, E16 2QD until August 5th.