British photographic history

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everything was moving: photography from the 60s and 70s

Event Details

everything was moving:  photography from the 60s and 70s

Time: September 13, 2012 to January 13, 2013
Location: Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Street: Silk Street
City/Town: London EC2Y 8DS
Website or Map:
Phone: 020 7638 8891
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Barbican Centre
Latest Activity: Nov 1, 2012

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Event Description

This major photography exhibition surveys the medium from an international perspective, and includes renowned photographers from across the globe, all working during two of the most memorable decades of the 20th Century. everything was moving: photography from the 60s and 70s tells a history of photography, through the photography of history. It brings together over 350 works, some rarely seen, others recently discovered and many shown in the UK for the first time. everything was moving opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 13 September 2012. 

It features key figures of modern photography including Bruce DavidsonWilliam Eggleston, David GoldblattGraciela Iturbide, Boris Mikhailov and Shomei Tomatsu, as well as important practitioners whose lives were cut tragically short such as Ernest Cole and Raghubir Singh. Each contributor has, in different ways, advanced the aesthetic language of photography, as well as engaging with the world they inhabit in a profound and powerful way. 

The exhibition is set in one of the defining periods of the modern age – a time that remains an inescapable reference point even today. The world changed dramatically in the 1960s and 1970s, shaped by the forces of post-colonialism, and Cold War neo-colonialism. This momentous epoch in history coincided with a golden age in photography: the moment when the medium flowered as a modern art form. 

Great auteur photographers emerged around the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ world. Many, working increasingly independently from the illustrated press, and freed from the restraints of brief and commission, were able to approach the world on their own terms, and to introduce a new level of complexity to photographic imagery. Others, such as Li Zhensheng (China) and Ernest Cole (South Africa), found themselves living in situations of extreme repression, but devised inspiring strategies to create major works of photography in secrecy and at huge personal risk. 

Back in the 1960s, many commentators viewed photography as inferior to painting or sculpture, because it simply recorded, mechanically, what could be seen, and was judged to be concerned primarily with reporting the facts (journalism) or campaigning for change (social documentary). Attitudes changed during this period, and the art museum slowly opened its doors to the medium. Less concerned to change the world, or to merely describe it, a new generation of photographers were driven to understand that world, as well as their place within it.

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Comment by Michael Wong on October 26, 2012 at 0:03

Thanks for the tip! How interesting .... will nip upstairs too to check that out when I'm there. Thanks again.

Comment by Gandha Key on October 24, 2012 at 14:27

Thanks, Michael, don't forget to find Li Zhensheng on the top floor - there is a small photo in a cabinet of a watch, a wallet and a couple of somewhat old leather handbags, the owner of these items was punished for the 'hoarding of riches'.....

Comment by Michael Wong on October 23, 2012 at 23:54

Thanks for the 'mini' review!

Look forward to heading there shortly ....

Comment by Gandha Key on October 23, 2012 at 21:08

An amazing and important exhibition especially for previously unseen images of people like Ernest Cole who struggled to portray the violence and brutality of apartheid life in S. Africa and died in poverty.  This exhibition reminds us how essential photography can be in educating us about a world we will never know.  Loved also Burrows' Vietnam seemingly staged photos.Not sure why Eggleston was included, his images appear mannered and somewhat meaningless....

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