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How We Are: Photographing Britain

Williams, Val and Bright, Susan (2007) How We Are: Photographing Britain. [Show/Exhibition] [Creative Arts and Design > Photography]
Creators:Williams, Val and Bright, Susan

Val Williams was the co-curator (with independent curator Susan Bright) of the exhibition 'How We Are: Photographing Britain', held at Tate Britain in 2007.

‘How We Are’ was the first major photography exhibition to be held at Tate Britain. It set out to provide a structure, rationale and argument for the historical development of British photography from c.1840 to the present.

The research began with a comprehensive survey of previous exhibitions of British photography and the curatorial stances they represent. A large number of different archives were visited to draw up a long-list of possible images and in the process a large number of photographs which had not been exhibited\published before were located. These included vernacular photographs, family photographs and photographs of and by minority communities.

Histories of British photography in books and journals were also accessed in order to assess how previous histories had been constructed. Out of this the core rationale of the ‘How We Are’ emerged, that is, an investigation and representation of the Britishness of British photography, its intense reflection of the people, the politics and the land. Linked to this core rationale was the premise to incorporate the familiar with the new discoveries the curators were making in the archives.

A number of framed photographs were exhibited in the galleries, but the research had also identified diaries and workbooks as well as photographs in books and press publications. These were exhibited in a series of ‘reading rooms’ to compliment and counterpoint the gallery exhibits.

The exhibition was accompanied by a book ‘How We Are’, with commissioned essays by Martin Parr, Gary Badger and Kevin Jackson together with essays by the co-curators.

Type of Research:Show/Exhibition
Your affiliations with UAL:Colleges > London College of Communication
Colleges > London College of Communication

Research Centres/Networks > Photography & the Archive Research Centre (PARC)
Date:22 May 2007
Event Location:Tate Britain, London
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Tate Britain22 May 200702 September 2007
ID Code:1663
Deposited On:03 Dec 2009 22:28
Last Modified:10 Sep 2010 15:36
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