Exhibition charts David Bailey’s return to his East London roots

Green Street Pic: David Bailey

An unreleased shot of the infamous Kray twins who grew up in Vallance Road, Bethnal Green, is the highlight of a new photography exhibition showing the changing face of London’s East End.

With the Olympics just around the corner, legendary photographer David Bailey returns to his East End roots with a collection of 77 photographs  as part of the summer CREATE 2012 cultural programme.

The exhibition at Compressor House near Silvertown docks includes street photographs of Spitalfields, Hackney and Bethnal Green through the 1960s to the present day, featuring locals in East End pubs, shops and gambling clubs.

Bailey said: “London’s East End is in my DNA and I’m thrilled to be able to return to my roots. Now the rest of the world will focus on an area I’ve been looking at all my life.”

East London streets during the 60s are unrecognisable, with images of bombed-out buildings featuring heavily in photographs. Bailey’s wife, Catherine, is photographed in fashion images from the 1980s, surrounded by the cranes of Silvertown docks, where the exhibition now takes place. More recent photographs feature the Olympic host borough of Stratford and the changing ethnicity of the local community.

Carole Crowe, 61, who is retired and grew up in east London said: “I really liked the old black and white photos of the 60s. It brought back memories from my childhood of playing on dirty old bombsites. It was nice to see the difference across the years, London is certainly changing and for the better I think.”

Hadrian Garrard, Director of CREATE, said: “This is a very personal show which charts the transformation of east London over the past half century thorough the lens of a local icon. Bailey’s work explores the characters, cultures and physical landscapes which make the area so unique.”

The exhibition runs until August 5 at Compressor House, near Royal Albert DLR station. For more details, visit the CREATE website.

Leave a Reply