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Centre for British Photography opening with six exhibitions

Posted on Jan 11, 2023

The new London-based Centre celebrates the best of contemporary British photography

The Centre for British Photography, opening its doors on Thursday 26 January, will present two lead exhibitions to visitors, along with four ‘in focus’ displays spread across three floors. Some exhibitions borrow from the Hyman Collection, one of the world’s largest collections of British photography, whilst all spotlight artwork by contemporary UK-based photographers.

LEAD EXHIBITIONS

© Sirkka-Lisa Konttinen, David Moore, Colin Jones

The English at Home: Photographs from the Hyman Collection

Featuring over 150 photographs from the Hyman Collection, The English at Home borrows its name from Bill Brandt’s 1935 book of the same name and explores what ‘home’ means to the English. Whether it be in the kitchen, in the back garden, on the street or through the neighbourhood, home can be experienced in various places, with various people.

© Maxine Walker, Rosy Martin, Paloma Tendero

Headstrong: Women and Empowerment

Self-portraiture has historically been used as a tool of social and political empowerment, with the earliest photographic self-portraits by women dating back to the 1850s. Headstrong showcases these same ideas: how women are represented in a patriarchal society, how they wrangle with identity and ultimately how they lead their lives.

‘IN FOCUS’ DISPLAYS

© Heather Agyepong

Wish You Were Here, Heather Agyepong

Wish You Were Here, commissioned to Heather Agyepong by the Hyman Collection in 2019, honours Aida Overton Walker, an African-American performer from the early 1900s. Overton Walker popularised the Cakewalk, a dance that was originally performed by enslaved people to mimic slaveholders, but one which the slaveholders (perhaps ignorantly) enjoyed themselves.

© Natasha Caruana

Fairytale for Sale, Natasha Caruana

Natasha Caruana’s Fairytale for Sale explores and at times satirises British wedding customs and marriage itself. The series features brides and grooms — their faces scratched, blocked, or otherwise disguised — ‘acting out’ stereotypical wedding scenes. The “for sale” portion represents how once the ceremony is finished, the fairytale ends and what’s left are props from the ‘performance’.

© Jo Spence

Fairytales and Photography, Jo Spence

In Fairytales and Photography, Jo Spence urges women to stop “waiting for their prince”. The series, containing self-portraits set beside photos of Princess Diana pre-Royal Wedding, explores themes of gender oppression in popular fairytales.

© Andrew Bruce & Anna Fox

Spitting, Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox

Spitting Image, a British television programme which aired in the 1980s and 1990s, created caricatures of politicians and celebrities of the time, including Margaret Thatcher and the Royal Family, among others. In 2015, the Hyman Collection commissioned Andrew Bruce and Anna Fox to respond to Spitting Image. Enter: Spitting, a photographic series of former Tory party members as puppets.

Located in London’s St. James’s district, the Centre for British Photography is free to the public and is hosting various talks and events until the end of April 2023. Learn more at britishphotography.org.

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