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.
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.
A Night in London
Inspired by the lead provided by Bill Brandt's seminal book, A Night in London, which was published eighty years ago this year, The Hyman Collection presents works that reflect aspects of the nocturnal life of London.
Queen and Country
The Hyman Collection includes many works which present folk customs, constructions of national identity and that address forms of patriotism and nationalism. At their centre is the flag and references to royalty, prime ministers and the establishment.
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.