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Vanessa Winship, Untitled from the series she dances on Jackson, 2011-2012

Photography in London this Autumn

29 August 2018 Katie Da Cunha Lewin

London always has a great array of exhibitions on - sometimes a few too many to choose from! If you are looking for something a little different or a bit more specialised, check out our handy guide for some of the great shows dedicated to photography.

First things first, the Barbican Centre has an incredible double-bill exhibition of work by Dorothea Lange and Vanessa Winship. This important exhibition showcases the work of two extraordinarily important photographers from different periods; Lange, working from the 1920s until the late 1950s and Winship working from the late 80s until the present day.
 
In the Lange exhibition entitled, ‘Politics of Seeing’, we follow the career and interests of one of the world’s most influential documentary photographers. In this first UK retrospective, the curators have laid out Lange’s work chronologically, tracking her early portraits of friends and well-to-do people in 1920s San Francisco, to her later series of works such as her trips to Ireland in 1954 and her recording of the work of a public defender. The exhibition dedicates two large rooms to her most famous works taken during the Great Depression with the Farm Security Administration, as well as another room devoted to her most famous image ‘Migrant Mother.’  In this room, viewers get to see some of the other shots she took of that Florence Owens Thompson and her children, alongside an early print of that now well-known composition.

Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother , Nipomo, California , 1936, The Dorothea Lange Collection, the Oakland Museum of California

Upstairs, the Barbican hosts the first solo show of British photographer Vanessa Winship, whose work encompasses – taken, for the most part, in black in white – many photographic genres, such as portraits, landscapes, documentary and more recent abstract work. Her early work is primarily photographs taken from Eastern Europe, including her striking images of Kosovo. Her later work has taken her all over the world, from Turkey and Georgia, to her more recent work in America with the series she dances on jackson.
 
This mammoth exhibit closes on 2 September so make sure you don’t miss out on the chance to see the works of these two extraordinary photographers in these important solo shows.

Tish Murtha, Youth Unemployment, Karen on overturned chair, 1980
 
At the Photographers Gallery, there is the chance to see work by another important contemporary photographer in the show Tish Murtha: 1976-1991.  Murtha’s documentary work recorded the lives of people in the North East of England and in Wales. In her black and white shots, Tish captures many moments of people’s lives, often people struggling with poverty and hardship. Murtha’s most famous series Youth Unemployment, from 1981, showed the devastating impact that Thatcher’s hard-line Conservative government had on the most precarious in society, young poor people in Newcastle. Much like Lange and Winship, Murtha also uses photography as a means of revealing the ugly side of national conflicts, governmental decisions and global politics. Running until the 14 October, you still have plenty of time to catch this fantastic show.
 
Rut Blees, Luxemburg, Vertigious Exhilaration, 1995

Finally, for something quite different, head over to The Museum of London for their free exhibition Going Beyond Documentary: experimental London photography.  The Museum highlights work from their archive which documents city life in profound and new ways. On display are works of investigative feminist art by Margaret Harrison who photographed the shared living and work space of a single mother. There are also other works in which the medium itself is played with; Stephen Gill for example overlays his photographs with flowers and plants from the local area to blur the boundary between nature and art. This free exhibition seems to be on for the foreseeable future so why not add it to your list the next time you head over to the Museum of London.
 
 
 

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