Key Works. An overview of British Photography
The Hyman Collection of British Photography holds vintage prints of many of the most famous and iconic photographs in British Photographic history. Key Works presents photographs from the collection to chart the ways in which British photographers have responded to the world around them from the documentary strategies of Bill Brandt and Picture Post photographers such as Bert Hardy and Kurt Hutton, through Roger Mayne and Tony Ray Jones, and on to Martin Parr, Paul Graham and their legacy in the form of more subjective or conceptual documentary practise.
Land of Make Believe
A central aspect of the Hyman Collection's holidings of British Art addresses masquerade, performance, costume, ritual, parade. There is a strong thread of fantasy and a variety of works that respond to eccentricity, constructions of identity, and the heritage industry. From the drama of the street to more internal monologues, these mini fictions question the authenticity of what is shown.
The Hyman Collection of British Photography includes many works which address the countryside including both landscapes and depictions of village life. These include depictions of the land as in Fay Godwin's pastoral idylls, John Blakemore and Thomas Cooper's metaphoric treatment of nature, John Davies's exploration of industry, Jem Southam's subtle depiction of man-made interventions, and Keith Arnatt's subversive views of areas of outstanding natural beauty. The collection also includes pictures of village life that focus on people and pastimes. Villages are shown to be sites of ritual, curiosity and strange events. These include Tony Ray Jones's eye for quirks and foibles, Homer Sykes's depiction of folk pastimes, bonfire night and other communal events in Anna Fox's Hamphsire village, Paul Reas's witty response to heritage tourism and Colin Jones's photograph of the Queen at Sandringham.
The Hyman Collection of British Photography includes works from England, Nothern Ireland, Scotland and Wales that trace the lives of communities in rural and urban parts of Britain. In addition the collection includes a strong holding of work which focuses on London and its various regions and explores class and society, from homes in Belgravia to the gypsy community by the Westway Roundabout and from the City of London to the Inner City.
Spitting Image. Margaret Thatcher and the Golden Age of Political Satire
The 1980s under the premiership of Margaret Thatcher was one of the most divisive decades in twentieth centruy British history. A decade of enormous cultural, social, political and economic change, this was the context in which many of the greatest British photographers of the last half century established their practice and developed forms of subject documentary photography to address a society in flux. It was an age of powerful political satire from the puppets of Spitting Image to the pages of Private Eye.
A central thread of the Hyman Collection is intimacy. Pictures of children are a leitmotif since the earliest days of photography and the collection includes a range of responses to childhood with a particular emphasis on works in which there is an evident closeness or familiairty between photographer and subject. The theme runs through the British photography in the Hyman Collection from Bill Brandt to the present.
The Hyman Collection of British Photography has a number of works which take as their setting the streets of Britain. At times what is captured is an unguarded moment but often the photographer explores the performative element of what is shown and foregrounds the relationship between the camera and the subject.