A new exhibition at London's Barbican explores life in Britain as seen through the eyes of international photographers, capturing its changing social, cultural and political identity since the 1930s.
Curated by iconic British photographer Martin Parr, Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers includes everything from social documentary and street photography, to portraiture and architectural photography by some of the leading lights of 20th and 21st century photography.
Each of the featured photographers record different characteristics of life around Britain in their own distinctive style. Starting in the mid-1930s with Edith Tudor-Hart’s images of London’s East End to the slum housing areas of Tyneside that capture the child welfare, unemployment and homelessness that characterised the interwar years. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s pictures capture the celebratory spirit at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 – photographing the crowds lining the streets. The work of Gian Butturini and Frank Habicht show the euphoria of the Swinging Sixties and the anti-War movement, while Robert Frank’s portrayal of life in London alongside the coal mining towns of South Wales in the early 1950s charts the rise of a British corporate culture and brings into sharp relief the relationship between wealth and poverty.
Described as a ‘chronicler of our age’, Martin Parr has been a critical figure in British photography for the last three decades. Renowned for his oblique approach to social documentary, his colour photographs touch on themes of leisure, consumption and communication all infused with humour and wit. Speaking of the exhibition, he said: “It will reveal a very different take on British life than that produced by British photographers. It is both familiar and strange at the same time.”
Via direct submission | Main image credit: Glasgow in 1980 – © Raymond Depardon / Magnum Photos