I finally managed to get to see David Bailey’s mammoth show ‘Stardust‘ at the National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk), with my gallery manager Charlotte Chappell . David Bailey is the true celebrity photographer of our time and probably the most famous British photographer in the UK – so my anticipation was enormous. And I wasn’t disappointed! The scale of the show is mightily impressive and one of the biggest contemporary shows I have seen in London for a long time with over 350 images. The show is breathtaking and a real crowd pleaser covering all the ground floor of the National Portrait Gallery. My favourite room was that filled with the images of his family and his striking wife Catherine (including her giving birth!). If I had to take any of the pictures home with me it would have been the beautiful colour pictures of Penelope Tree and Jean Shrimpton , and Mick Jagger . I loved all the books and magazines in the final room which helped contextualise everything. My only disappointment was not seeing any of his fashion pictures for Vogue over his lifetime which are what made him famous. Sadly these are owned by Conde Nast and so were not included. I didn’t go home empty-handed buying the fabulous book that accompanies the show . In fact the shop was a treasure trove filled with everything David Bailey. The show ends 1 June so hurry if you haven’t seen it. Coincidentally Bailey’s new show ‘For Real’ has just opened at Daniel Blau (www.danielblau.co.uk) which I hope to visit.
Mid week I was invited by Pierre-Yves Mahe, the founder of Speos – the Paris London Photographic Institute (www.speos.co.uk), to their end of year London student portfolio review at Highbury Studios. I was delighted to accept as my daughter Anouska studied at Speos in Paris. I was joined on the panel by photographer Hannah Finch and photo agent Germaine Walker . We had five students to review and score. Interestingly they were all female and ranged in ages. It was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and seeing new work .
Then it was the grand opening of our Bob Carlos Clarke: Living Dolls show at my gallery. Bob was a very old friend of mine and we opened the gallery in 2008 in his honour and memory. We have a permanent room in the gallery so we get collectors and fans visiting on a daily basis and his shows are always a sell-out. The openings are always fun but one never knows who is going to turn up. Well I wasn’t disappointed as lots of Bob’s family, friends, collectors, models and fans turned up in force including his wife Lindsey and daughter Scarlett. It was a real mix of young and old and many fellow artists. I was delighted to meet the iconic artist Allen Jones  who was a friend and huge inspiration to Bob throughout his career, with Bob naming one of his pictures in his honour: “Keeping Up With The Joneses’ . Allen recounted the many stories and jokes that Bob used to play on him – as Bob was always very mischievous sending anonymous letters to many victims! Next up was Brit art boy Tim Noble who was on his usual naughty form , publishing heir Dan Macmillan (who took a shine to Bob’s ‘Tite Street’) , and boy about town Henry Conway . The next generation were also out to support the family including Luciano Pierre White , son of legendary chef Marco Pierre White – who Bob famously shot for their classic book ‘White Heat’ 25 years ago, which we are republishing next year. My business partner Ghislain Pascal was busy adding red dots to the walls – the perfect sign of a great night!
Tamara Beckwith is Co-Founder of The Little Black Gallery London.