The Other Britain Revisited: Photographs from New Society

May 4, 2010 § Leave a comment

On show at the Victoria & Albert Museum are outstanding documentary photographs from 1962 to 1982, originally published in the pioneering magazine New Society. The display will feature the work of twenty-three photographers who captured the diversity of life in Britain and pivotal social issues in the late twentieth century.

The magazine engaged with young British photojournalists working in the tradition of ‘concerned’ photography and recognised early the talent of figures such as Brian Griffin, Martin Parr, and Chris Steele-Perkins, who have gone on to achieve wide acclaim.

Click HERE for more details.

Exhibition runs from 14 May – 26 September 2010 in the Photography Gallery 38A, Free Admission.

Opening times 10.00-17.00 daily, Friday open late till 22.00

‘No Such Thing as Society’

October 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

An exhibition of work by documentary photographers recording Britain’s state of transition and unrest between the 1960s and 1980s.

No Such Thing As Society brings together 150 photographs by photographers including Martin Parr, Keith Arnatt and Victor Burgin. The exhibition takes its name from Margaret Thatcher’s famous statement, “Society? There is no such thing. There are individual men and women and there are families.”

The exhibition includes a shot by Tish Murtha, taken in the 1980s, of teenagers in Newcastle’s West end which originally included the caption, ‘They see no real future for themselves.’

The show runs from 31 Ocotber 2009 – 07 February 2010 at the Laing Art Gallery, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 8AG.

Telephone: 0191 232 7734

‘Fraulein’ by Ellen von Unwerth at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, London

October 17, 2009 § Leave a comment


‘Fraulein’ by Ellen von Unwerth :  23 October – 21 November 2009

Born in 1954, Ellen von Unwerth is a German photographer and director who began her career working as a fashion model before she picked up a camera.


She initially found recognition in the late 80’s when she first photographed Claudia Schiffer, Carré Otis, Eva Herzigova and Drew Barrymore for the Guess? Jeans advertorial campaign. Ever since then top journals such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Arena, Interview, L’uomo Vogue and I-D have been clamoring to publish her striking images of models, film and music stars.

Her career as a model has given her a particularly good advantage when taking pictures – knowing how to make women look good, celebrating their femininity and creating deeply stylish and sexy images without being lascivious or objectifying.


Ellen has also been responsible for the production of several photography books (see list below) and has directed short films and music videos for the likes of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Duran Duran to name but a few.

“The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to announce ‘Fräulein’; a show of personal favorites and never previously seen images from the last 15 years. The exhibition at Michael Hoppen will take place in collaboration with TASCHEN who will be publishing a major monograph of Ellen von Unwerth’s work, also entitled Fräulein. The text is written by Ingrid Sischy, the former editor in chief of Interview magazine and currently fashion critic at the New Yorker and a contributing editor for Vanity Fair.

Known for her casual, playful attitude on shoots, her lack of pretense is the key to why her photographs resonate – they feel warm, human and fun. Von Unwerth’s photography revels in sexual intrigue, femininity and sheer joie de vivre.

Fashion and fantasy are enthrallingly combined in a way no male photographer could dare.” MH

Ellen von Unwerth’s signed limited edition prints will be on display over two floors, celebrating female icons in a variety of poses such as Claudia Schiffer, Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Natalie Portman among many others.


Ellen Von Unwerth Publications


Jim Goldberg: Open See Exhibition

October 11, 2009 § Leave a comment

Open See documents the experiences of people who travel from war torn, socially and economically devastated countries, to make new lives in Europe. They have left often violent, oppressive, poverty-stricken or AIDS ravaged communities, in search of stability and the promise of a better future. Originating from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, these ‘new Europeans’ have met violence and brutality as well as hope and liberation in their new homes.

Since 2003, Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg (b.1953, USA) has been photographing and collecting stories through a range of media: Polaroids, video, written text, ephemera, large and medium format photographs. The exhibition installation reflects his dynamic approach to documentary through dense displays of images, objects and text.

 The Polaroids on show have often been defaced and written on by the people they portray. The words and images combine to tell intimate stories of past and present experiences. Faces and features are sometimes scratched out, coloured in, or marked in some way. Larger-scale colour photographs depicting landscapes from the subjects’ countries of origin appear both poetic and dystopic in equal measure. One image shows a young family walking along a sunlit road, while another is of a man standing on a vast rubbish tip holding a dead goat salvaged from the debris.

Part of an ongoing project by Goldberg, Open See confronts us with the realities of migration and the conditions for desiring escape.

This exhibition is presented in collaboration with Magnum Photos ( and  runs from 15 October 2009 – 31 January 2010.

The Photographers Gallery
16-18 Ramilies Street

Telephone: 0845 262 1618

Instant Nostalgia…

September 24, 2009 § Leave a comment

“The beloved Polaroid, in all its clunky, hands-on, hit-and-miss old-fashionedness, is a pre-digital classic that is refusing to die quietly”
The Observer

Early last year, the Polaroid corporation ceased to produce its iconic film.

The 9 October 2009 sees a Polaroid exhibition called ‘Polaroid EXP.09.10.09′ opening at the Atlas Gallery and featuring all the greats…

Nobuyoshi Araki
David Bailey
Peter Blake
Elliott Erwitt
Walker Evans
Jim Goldberg
Philippe Halsman
Barbara Kasten
André Kertesz
William Klein
David Leventhal
Robert Mapplethorpe
Mary Ellen Mark
Steven Meisel
Helmut Newton
Marc Quinn

The exhibition at the Atlas gallery on Dorset Street, London W1 will see the final ‘use by’ or expiration date of the last batch of Polaroid film manufactured. A wide selection of Polaroid prints by photographers who have either worked directly with the Polaroid Corporation as part of their research program or who have become famous for the quality of their Polaroid prints either alongside or independent from their traditional camera-based work. It traces the development and use of this unique medium up to the present day.

Artist Marc Quinn writes of this experience, “What I like about Polaroids is that they are like a sculpture of a photograph. In other words, when you press the button, the Polaroid comes out of the camera, and image is transformed into an object”

Text Credit: Atlas Gallery Press release

seamus ryan

Shake It: An Instant History of the Polaroid

September 23, 2009 § Leave a comment

Do you remember Polaroids? The satisfying cause-and-effect of the click followed by that sticky plastic sliver sliding out of the front of the machine; the distinctive abrupt buzz that accompanied its arrival and the grey square that morphed, as you watched, into an image, like a well-loved building looming out of thick fog. Digital photography is all very clever, of course, but you don’t hold anything in your hand at the end of the process that you didn’t at the beginning. Man cannot live by virtual reality alone, especially as ‘virtual’, lest we forget, means ‘almost’.

Now that Polaroid is defunct – the UK branch of the company in administration, the last batch of film just expired – two galleries are trying to do for the instant camera what it once did for the world: fix it in our memories. It helps that a lot of interesting artists experimented with the medium at various points, although Polaroid can be grimly unforgiving. Andy Warhol, who has pictures at both the Atlas and the Pumphouse galleries, doesn’t show well, and nor does Nobuyoshi Araki, since his trussed nudes look even seedier, if that’s possible, on this small scale.

Why is Polaroid so uncompromising? Because it’s so limited. Size can vary (Roe Etheridge’s giant ‘Popcorn Factory’ has an uneasy banality that is strikingly different from the crisp examination of the ordinary in Walker Evans’s tiny street signs) but there’s no zoom, no wide-angle. The medium, invented by Edwin H Land in 1947, was especially useless for landscape photography. Hockney’s disparaging comment about photography, that it ‘is all right if you don’t mind looking at the world from the point of view of a paralysed Cyclops’, may be grossly unfair to the genre, but it works for Polaroid.

Which is not to say that the instant camera has nothing to offer, quite the contrary. Limitations are artistic Viagra – even a paralysed Cyclops can imagine, or dream. David Bailey manages to superimpose a sharply delineated statue on the trademark Polaroid fog; Marc Quinn paints on the tiles; Bourdin somehow recreates his own world – the gorgeous, ghostly girl, the glorious background, the pervasive miasma of imminent unhappiness – in images that are formed in a finger’s click. Andre Kertesz, working just after his wife died, creates extraordinary, ineffably sad images of loneliness and vanished happiness using glass statues and an out-of-focus background that feels Parisian (despite the fact that the pictures were actually taken in New York); Michael Snow takes a mirror and sticks on it an assemblage of Polaroids so brilliantly self-referential it even incorporates the viewer’s puzzled frown, staring back from behind monochrome images of Snow taking Polaroids in a mirror.

Pumphouse has a 1972 film by Charles and Ray Eames which flags up the simple Polaroid ethos of ‘point, click, shoot’ – then offers such bewildering detail on the machine’s inner workings you’d need a science degree to understand it, and both these exhibitions also veer between the simple (Storm modelling agency casting shots and found photography annotated with tawdry, disconsolate messages of forever love) and the intensely complicated, although many of the images – Jim Goldberg’s Liberians and Bangladeshis, Lucas Samaras’s smeared self-portraits – incorporate a little of both, just as a Polaroid image combines the desire to make lasting art with the craving for the instant visual hit.

Of all the well-known artists who have played around with this beguiling, difficult format, surely the most interesting is David Hockney, whose comments about paralysed Cyclops haven’t prevented him from experimenting with all kinds of photography. Hockney has long complained that most photos can only be looked at for about the same time as it takes to create them, so in the early 1980s, he took up the challenge to get ‘lived time’ into the medium. The results, as his composite image of Nicholas Wilder demonstrates, are descended directly from Cubism.

Polaroids from artists including Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Rut Blees Luxemburg, Walker Evans Nobuyoshi Araki , Guy Bourdin , Tim Braden, Roe Ethridge , Walker Evans, David Hockney, André Kertész , John Latham, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jonathan Monk, Lisa Oppenheim , Lucas Samaras , Michael Snow, Juergen Teller , Wim Wenders are on display at the Pump House Gallery starting on 6 Ocotber 2009, and coincides with the October 2009 expiry date of the last batch of Polaroid film. This exhibition runs until 13 December 2009.

Pump House Gallery
Battersea Park
SW11 4NJ

Text credit: Nina Caplan

Norman Parkinson : A Very Bristish Glamour

September 20, 2009 § 1 Comment


All Images © Norman Parkinson Ltd

Legendary British fashion photographer Norman Parkinson, CBE (1913 – 1990) is being celebrated in two ways this month; firstly with the launch of a new monograph by Louise Baring entitled ‘Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour‘.

51+DvGmkr6L._SL500_AA240_Published by Rizzoli in October and with contributions by Grace Coddington and Jerry Hall, this book gives a wonderful view of his career spanning over 50 years.

Then to celebrate the publication of the book, a selection of portraits from the Norman Parkinson archive will be displayed at Somerset House, London from 9 October 2009 – 31 January 2010.

Norman Parkinson or ‘Parks’ as he preferred to be called, is quite simply one of my favorite photographers who revolutionised the world of British fashion photography in the 1940’s by creating pictures that were entirely different from anything that had come before him.

Parkinson’s images were modern, often humorous and spontaneous. He was one of the first photographers to bring his models from the rigid studio environment into a far more dynamic outdoor setting. He encouraged them to move naturallyand liked his girls to be active, jump and be full of life.


It was through this vivacity and his creative use of outdoor locations, that his work became famous. He was so influential, he also ‘made’ models such as Jerry Hall, Celia Hammond, Carmen Dell’ Orefice and Wenda Rogerson, who later became not only his muse, but his wife (see image below).

Parks woman and ostriches

It wasn’t just his impulsive and unstructured style to photography that made him stand out – his persona played a big part in his celebrity. He was always professional,  had impeccable manners and charmed his subjects with his eccentricities. Since he was 6 ft 5 inches tall, he was unable to remain unobtrusive behind the lens of his camera, so he created this flamboyant personality who often wore a Kashmiri wedding hat while taking photographs, to reassure and disarm any uneasy sitters he had.


 Norman Parkinson, self portraits


Norman Parkinson began his career in 1931 as an apprentice to the court photographers Speaight and Sons Ltd. In 1934 he opened his own studio together with Norman Kibblewhite specialising in portraiture. In 1935 he had his first solo exhibition that included portraits of Vivien Leigh and Noel Coward after which Parkinson was recruited by Harper’s Bazaar and The Bystander magazines to take editorial and reportage photographs.

woman and horses

After the war he was employed as a portrait and fashion photographer for Vogue magazine and worked for them right up until 1960 when his contract was terminated over after a dispute regarding ownership over negatives of photographs commissioned for its magazine.

woman on post

He was then recruited as Associate Editor of Queen magazine (the most influential fashion and features magazine of the early 1960s), before moving to Tobago with his family in 1963 to live in tax exile. He frequently returned to London and travelled around the world to fulfill the assignments required by Queen magazine, however when his contract with them ended he began to freelance for Life Magazine and others until his death at the age of 75.

Norman Parkinson was one of the first fashion photographers to enjoy personal celebrity worldwide recognition. He was not just much-loved with the fashion pack, but was also admired and adored by the British Royal family

He took the first official photographs of Prince Charles at his investiture as Prince of Wales. A favourite of Princess Anne, he photographed her on her horse in Windsor Great Park, and took official portraits for her 19th and 21st birthday’s as well as the official engagement and wedding portraits of her and Captain Mark Phillips.

NPG P200, Queen Elizabeth II; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; Princess Margaret

He also took portraits for Queen Mothers 75th and 80th birthday’s, including the ‘Blue Trinity’ portrait of the Queen, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.

woman in gown

Part of Parkinson’s success, is that he reinvented himself for each of the seven decades of his career, continually dazzling the world with his sparkling inventiveness as a photographer.

This timely book, ‘Norman Parkinson: A Very British Glamour‘ illustrates his unrivalled portfolio containing photographs of many of the greatest icons of the twentieth century as well as some of the world’s most beautiful women. Shining through his work is Parkinson’s inimitable wit and style, and his unique eye for glamour and beauty.

philip treacy

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