Key Works. An overview of British Photography
The Hyman Collection of British Photography holds vintage photographs and editioned prints of many of the most famous and iconic photographs in British Photographic history as well as remarkable, but less familiar, images.
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.
As well as including forms of documentary photography, the collection focuses on artists working in photography who have pursued more subjective or conceptual strategies. The collection has an equal number of works by male and female artists.
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.
Behind Closed Doors
Behind Closed Doors looks at the domestic interior in British Photography. It takes as its starting point three of the most important bodies of work by Bill Brandt: his first book, appropriately entitled The English at Home (1935), his documentation of poverty in northern England, and his pioneering domestic nudes. It explores the parametres of these bodies of work: from documentary to fiction, realism to something more surreal. This historical engagement suggests that to understand contemporary depictions of the home there is much to learn in exploring a lineage that extends from Bill Brandt through the crucial years of Picture Post magazine (Kurt Hutton, Burt Hardy) and on to more conceptual strategies since the 1970s. It ends with some of the most important work of recent years, the devasting series, Small Town Inertia, by Jim Mortram.
The photographers include Cecil Beaton, Bill Brandt, Anna Fox, Ken Grant, Bert Hardy, Nick Hedges, Kurt Hutton, Colin Jones, Karen Knorr, Daniel Meadows, Peter Mitchell, Jim Mortram, John Myers, David Moore, Martin Parr, Polly Penrose, Jo Spence.
Sign of the Times. Word and Image in British Photography
Photographs in the Hyman Collection collection allow one to explore the use of word and image in British Photogtraphy and allow one to chart a number of strategies by which text is used to provide a commentary on what is shown or to deepen its meaning. At its most pobvious text may indicate a time or place but frequently it introduces an additional dimension whether it be humour, social commentary, political engagement or semiotic concerns. Initially embedded within the picture, by the 1970s text was increasingly used to accompany the image, often screenprinted beneath it, to direct the viewer's response to what is shown in ways that may be humorous but are often subversive, ironic, satirical or polemical.
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.