Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
At a time when individual rights are being contested and those on the fringes of society feel ever more marginalised from mainstream political and social narratives, the exhibition Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins, celebrates and explores photography’s enduring relationship with individuals and communities who operate on the margins or openly flout social conventions through the work of photographers including Paz Errazuriz, Casa Susanna Collection, Mary Ellen Mark, and Pieter Hugo amongst others.
Driven by motivations both personal and political, many of the photographers in the exhibition sought to provide an authentic representation of disenfranchised communities, often conspiring with them to construct their own identity through the camera lens. Featuring a cast of transsexuals, cross-dressers, prostitutes, hustlers, bikers, junkies, eccentrics, circus performers, street urchins and tearaways, gang members, back-street peddlers and survivalists, the works in the exhibition present the outsider as an agent of change. The non-conventional subject is here a prism through which to view the world afresh.
Artists have historically been instrumental in presenting the image of the outsider for a wider public. Employing a diverse set of aesthetic strategies from portraiture to social documentary and vernacular to street photography, the artists in the exhibition approach their subject with a humanity and empathy that is both empowering and inclusive.
Reflecting a more diverse, more complex and more authentic view of the world, Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins touches on themes of gender and sexuality, drugs, youth culture and minorities of all kinds and includes bodies of work from Japan to the US, and from Chile to Nigeria. By recording and documenting those on the margins, the images in the exhibition bear witness to how social attitudes change across time and space, charting how visual representation has helped shape current discourse in relation to marginalised or alternative communities.
Another Kind of Life
Photography on the Margins
Barbican Art Gallery, Barbican Centre
Wed 28 Feb – Sun 27 May 2018
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