Observations: Night time is the right time for David Bailey's London venture

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The Independent Culture

Not a lot surprises David Bailey these days, but just the other week, hearing stories about vampires managed it. The renowned photographer was out and about in London's East End; it was the middle of the night and he was shooting portraits for Alive at Night, an exhibition of photographs capturing those night owls who live their lives while the majority of us are asleep. "The vampire stories were interesting because I never realised there was such a thing as people who dress up like that. They can only come out at night," says Bailey. "At this stage in life it's hard to surprise me, but that's why I love London so much; there's always something new that turns up."

The vampire stories came courtesy of John Pope-de-Locksley, a Colonel Mustard type figure who looks like he's just stepped off a Cluedo board, who runs Jack the Ripper tours and vampire walks around London. Pope-de-Locksley, along with Ian Kirton, a specialised paramedic for the helicopter emergency services based at the Royal London Hospital, are just two of the night workers whose portraits have been on show at The Old Dairy, near London's Russell Square, this week.

People were invited to send in their stories explaining why they'd like to have their picture taken for the project and the response was overwhelming. Applicants were whittled down to the final 20, who each had their photograph taken during one long all-nighter session. "We took a cross-section of night people but I didn't do condescending shots like beggars and hookers; that would have been too easy."

Organised to celebrate the launch of the Nokia 86 camera phone, Bailey abandoned his usual range of cameras and film to shoot all the portraits on the phone instead.

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