Exhibitions: 5 Photography Exhibitions in London

Continuing with our regular updates on photography exhibitions not to miss out on in London…

 

Make Life Worth Living: Nick Hedges’ Photographs for Shelter 1968 – 72

Make Life Worth Living presents a collection of powerful and moving works by documentary photographer Nick Hedges, commissioned in 1968 by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter.

These hard-hitting photographs, exposing the poor housing conditions and abject poverty being endured by people across Britain, form one of the most important documentary photography projects of the 20th century.

Exhibited for the first time, following a 40 year restriction to protect the anonymity of the subjects, one hundred black and white photographs will be displayed alongside edited texts from Hedges’ detailed written notes of his travels and encounters.

© Nick Hedges / National Media Museum, Bradford

Exhibition Information:
The Science Museum
Free entry
Exhibition ends 18 January 2015

 

Constructing Worlds

Constructing Worlds brings together eighteen exceptional photographers from the 1930s to the present day who have changed the way we view architecture and perceive the world around us.

From the first skyscrapers in New York and decaying colonial structures in the Congo, to the glamorous suburban homes of post-war California, and the modern towers of Venezuela, we invite you on a global journey through 20th and 21st century architecture.

Featuring over 250 works, this exhibition highlights the power of photography to reveal hidden truths in our society.

© Nadav Kander, courtesy Flowers Gallery.

Exhibition Information:
The Barbican
Ticket price: £8 – £12
Exhibition ends 11 January 2015

 

Walead Beshty

Yet another fantastic photography exhibition at The Barbican, a must see if you are a fan of alternative processes.

A Partial Disassembling of an Invention Without a Future: Helter-Skelter and Random Notes in Which the Pulleys and Cogwheels Are Lying Around at Random All Over the Workbench sees the London-born, Los Angeles-based artist Walead Beshty transform the Curve by covering the wall of the gallery from floor to ceiling with more than 12,000 cyanotype prints.

Each cyanotype (a photographic print with a cyan-blue tint) is produced using an object from the artist’s studio, which is placed on a porous surface (such as discarded paper or cardboard) that has been coated with UV-sensitive material. After being exposed to sunlight, the object’s silhouette appears against a cyan-blue background.

The installation presents the cyanotypes in order, to form a visual timeline, beginning with those created in October 2013 in Los Angeles, and ending with work created in London by Beshty over this summer, using materials from the Barbican during his month-long residency in September 2014.

Detail from Walead Beshty’s installation at the Barbican. Photograph: Getty Images

Exhibition Information:
The Barbican
Free entry
Exhibition ends 8 February 2015

 

Horst: Photographer of Style

Horst created images that transcend fashion and time. He was a master of light, composition and atmospheric illusion, who conjured a world of sensual sophistication. In an extraordinary sixty-year career, his photographs graced the pages of Vogue and House and Garden under the one-word photographic byline ‘Horst’. He ranks alongside Irving Penn and Richard Avedon as one of the pre-eminent fashion and portrait photographers of the 20th century.

An international figure, Horst worked predominantly in Paris and New York. Born in Germany, he became an American citizen in 1943, changing his surname from Bohrmann to Horst. His extraordinary range of work outside the photographic studio conveys a relentless visual curiosity and life-long desire for new challenges. The huge collection of prints, drawings, notebooks, scrapbooks and letters that Horst carefully preserved throughout his life, alongside thousands of prints in the archives of Condé Nast, bear witness to his virtuoso talent.

© Condé Nast/Horst Estate. Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1942.

Exhibition Information:
The V&A
Ticket price: £6 / £9
Exhibition ends 4 January 2015

 

Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Files

Russian Criminal Tattoo Police Files is a selection of photographs of Russian prisoners tattoos collected by Arkady Bronnikov between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s. A senior expert in criminalistics at the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs for over thirty years, part of Bronnikov’s duties involved visiting correctional institutions of the Ural and Siberia regions. It was here that he interviewed, gathered information and photographed of convicts and their tattoos, building one of the most comprehensive archives of this phenomenon acquired by FUEL in 2013.

The Bronnikov collection, consisting of 918 images, was made for police use only to further the understanding of the language of these tattoos and to act as an aid in the identification and apprehension of criminals in the field. The photographer’s only consideration was the recording of the body for practical purposes. Unimpeded by artistry, these vernacular photographs present a guileless representation of criminal society. The photographs unintentionally betray their human side disclosing evidence of prisoners’ character: aggressiveness, vulnerability, melancholy, and conceit. Their bodies display an unofficial history, told not just through tattoos, but also in scars and missing digits. Closer inspection only confirms our inability to comprehend the unimaginable lives of this previously unacknowledged caste.

Exhibition Information:
Grimaldi Gavin
Free entry
Exhibition ends 22 November 2014