Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers

The large exhibition, curated by Martin Parr at Barbican in London, provides a snapshot of Britain from the 1930s to 2014, seen through the eyes of international photographers (that is photographers from overseas).  There are 23 photographers in number many of which are looking at the big occasion and cliches in Britain, and often in London, including the business man in bowler hat, the royal event, the sports championship, urban decay, industrial communities, swinging 60s London, union jacks, red telephone boxes, glass milk bottles and other such quirks.   Then in the works exhibited, made in more recent years, the faces affected by life, industry and poverty and the homogenised high street and way of life.

Strange and Familiar
Strange and Familiar
Strange and Familiar
Strange and Familiar

 

 

 

 

 

British photographers at this time were making work that was quite different, high fashion shoots and celebrity portraits, and more quietly by the 1960s a more humanistic realism that showed the truer streets and communities of Britain.   There is lots of great work to see here, and often photographs not seen before by many icons of street photography, accompanied by a stunning array of photo books.   Amongst my favourite works were Hans van der Meer’s pictures of local football matches in the north of England, depicting a cold, misty Sunday morning, community amateur football with the hills of the peak district in the background.  A further favourite were Garry Winogrand’s quieter streets of London and surburbia and the humorous gesture and witty moment captured as a less energetic version of his New York photographs.

Gary Winogrand
Gary Winogrand
Hans van der Meer
Hans van der Meer