Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers explorers how Britain is seen by the lenses of foreign photographers. The show has been curated by Martin Parr one of the world’s most prolific documentary photographers and president of the Magnum Photo agency.
The work on show spans almost a century with images from: Henri Cartier-Bresson from the 1930s to Bruce Gilden’s floor to ceiling portraits shot in the last few years. The show is huge using both floors of the Barbican Gallery and includes the work of 23 photographers, so it’s a really diverse.
The way the work is displayed vary varies. There are original Paul Strand prints from the 1950s, in stark contrast to Strand’s work there is a projected peace by Hans Eijkelboom showing a seemingly never ending sideways scrolling set of images. Hans shot for a total of 24 non consecutive days in Birmingham’s Bullring to build up a visual record of it’s inhabitants. The work is organised into sets like: denim, tops with numbers, checked shirts etc. It’s half and hour long and really impressive although airing on the side of OCD.
Jim Dow‘s work will feel very familiar to anyone who is a fan of Martin Parr’s work, he has a set of images depicting independent shops from the 1980s to the 1990s. There is something in this show that will invoke a sense of nostalgia in anyone who grew up in the UK.
Strange and Familiar is at the Barbican Art Gallery until 19th June. Tickets are £12 for adults, concessions available. There is also a book of the work from the show called ‘Strange and Familiar’ which is available from Amazon UK (£23) here and Amazon US ($60) here.
I attended the press viewing with Lomography UK and they lent me a Petzval 58mm lens (which I reviewed back in May 2015), I managed to get some nice intimate portraits with some of the exhibiting photographers which you can see below.