6 July 2012
Last updated at 07:56
East London's most famous son has returned to his roots with an exhibition of photographs of the East End spanning 50 years. From streetscapes to people in local pubs, Bailey's exhibition shows the ever-changing Cockney landscape.
The exhibition focuses on the 60s through to the 80s and recent years. The photographs - in colour and black and white - were captured with a range of cameras "because the attitude of the camera affects the way you take pictures". Those taken in the sixties have a "softness" and an "attitude", according to the photographer.
"Two happy ladies having a nice time, dressed rather smart for their time and period with their mad hairdos. When I look at it I just think of Knees Up Mother Brown."
Another local character in an East End pub. "This lady was probably only 25 or something. She could be 85," said Bailey. The 1960s section features images shot for an article on the infamous Kray twins that was never published as it coincided with their going to trial. "I used to do a lot in their pubs and clubs because I knew I was safe there," added Bailey.
Spitalfields, Brick Lane, Stratford and Newham all feature in the colour and black and white prints. There are images of east London high streets, unrecognizable today, with their old shop fronts and children playing in bombed out buildings.
In the eighties, Bailey returned to the Silvertown docks - where the exhibition is taking place - to record the area before much of it was levelled for redevelopment. Bailey used a German Linhof camera with expensive lenses to capture the eighties, "so they're much more clinical".
The photographs taken in recent years provide a visual record of the different groups of immigrants who have settled in the east of the city. "I just want my pictures to be there and people can make what they like of them". The exhibition runs from 6 July until 5 August at Compressor House, Royal Docks, Newham.