British photographer Daivd Bailey's show a the National Portrait Gallery in London is a star-studded affair. On view are glossy, high contrast photos of famous faces like Kate Moss and Mick Jagger. The show was sponsored by Hugo Boss, and the king of polka dots himself, Damien Hirst, designed the press materials and catalogue. Everyone who's anyone is part of "Bailey's Stardust."
Bailey, regarded as one of England's most famous photographers, has captured the biggest names in film, fashion, and music with such effortless polish that his images are almost iconoclastic; they validate our obsession with celebrities. Even his travel photography from East Africa, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Delhi, and the Naga Hills capture exotic worlds that are almost too strange and wonderful to be true.
Jonathan Jones of The Guardian writes of the energy of the show: "Bailey gets everyone to act up: there's not a still moment in the show, for his style is up, up, up and move, darling, jump, grin, gurn or pout for me, babe." But for Jones, Bailey's perfect pictures lack in depth despite his compositional talents. "Bailey is inexhaustibly shallow," he writes, taking a jab at the photographer's kinship with Hirst.
Yet there is something that draws people to Bailey's works (and Hirst's, for that matter). "Bailey's Stardust" is one of the most popular shows in London right now, and shallow or not, it's hard to tear your eyes away from his delicious photographs.
"Bailey's Stardust" is open at the National Portrait Gallery in London until June 1, 2014.
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