Strange but familiar Britain seen by foreign photographers

  • Published

An exhibition at the Barbican in London explores life in Britain as seen through the eyes of international photographers. Work from the 1930s to the present depicts the social, cultural and political life of the country.

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers is curated by photographer Martin Parr, who said the show was based on the "notion that many people had come to Britain since the war and photographed here, and yet here we are in England and Britain and we weren't familiar with these pictures".

"The exhibition 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."

Image source, © Akihiko Okamura
Image caption,
Japanese photographer Akihiko Okamura first travelled to Northern Ireland in 1968 with a view to tracing John F Kennedy's family history but he soon committed himself to focusing on The Troubles. Working in colour, his pictures capture the everyday lives of those living in the midst of the conflict.
Image source, © Edith Tudor-Hart
Image caption,
Edith Tudor-Hart arrived in Britain in the 1930s. A committed communist ,she sought to depict social injustice, using her pictures to fight for change.
Image source, © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos
Image caption,
Photographs taken at royal celebrations through the decades by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson include this picture taken at the Coronation of King George VI in 1937.
Image source, Phil Coomes / BBC
Image caption,
Shinro Ohtake photographs taken in London in 1977 are on show in the UK for the first time.
Image source, © Tina Barney / Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery
Image caption,
American photographer Tina Barney's images of the British upper classes are presented as large colour prints.
Image source, Phil Coomes / BBC
Image caption,
Martin Parr said of French photographer Raymond Depardon's (pictured) images of Glasgow taken during the 1980s that he had never seen photographs like this from anyone else.
Image source, © Candida Hofer, Koln / VG Bild-Kunst
Image caption,
German photographer Candida Hofer's pictures depict Liverpool in the late 1960s.
Image source, © Cas Oorthuys / Nederlands Fotomuseum
Image caption,
Oxford, Cambridge and London (above) were the focus of Dutch photographer Cas Oorthuys during the middle of the 20th Century.
Image source, Phil Coomes / BBC
Image caption,
At around the same time, Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain captured the capital as it emerged from the post-war gloom.
Image source, © Sergio Larrain / Magnum Photos
Image caption,
Larrain's pictures show the inhabitants hurrying to work, going about their busy lives.
Image source, © Hans van der Meer / Courtesy of the Artist
Image caption,
Hans van der Meer's large-format pictures of amateur football matches offer the viewer a pin-sharp image, the players set against the landscape.
Image caption,
Large prints by American photographer Bruce Gilden depict people met on the street in the Black Country (2014) and Middlesex (2011).
Image caption,
Seven of the photographers on show attended the opening of the exhibition, which runs until 19 June 2016.

Full picture credits:

© Akihiko Okamura / Courtesy of the Estate of Akihiko Okamura, Hakodate, Japan

© Edith Tudor-Hart / National Galleries of Scotland

© Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos

© Tina Barney, Courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery

© Candida Hofer, Koln / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015

© Cas Oorthuys / Nederlands Fotomuseum

© Sergio Larrain / Magnum Photos

© Hans van der Meer / Courtesy of the Artist

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