February 19 — April 20 Multimedia Art Museum of Moscow presents «Another London. International Photographers Capture City Life 1930–1970» within the framework of UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014.
«Another London» is the highlight project of the Photobiennale 2014, the central theme of which is Britain and British Photography. The photographs in the exhibition show London as a dynamic metropolis, richly varied and full of contrast. The affluent upper and middle classes are documented alongside the working class and urban poor, surviving life in the city as beggars and street vendors. Emblems of London life such as pearly kings, red buses and bowler hats are captured alongside the city’s growing cultural diversity. «Another London» is an encyclopaedia of the history of photography throughout the 1930 s-1970 s.
In the twentieth century, some of the world’s greatest photographers came to London to capture the city and its inhabitants. «Another London» explores the distinctive ways in which London was represented by those for whom it was a foreign city.
Such renowned photographers as Emil Hoppe, Robert Frank, Lutz Dille, Al Vandenberg, Inge Morath, James Barnor came to London and took photographs of city life and people living there. Some of them visited London fleetingly as tourists or on journalistic assignments, some arrived as refugees, while others came to live in the UK permanently.It is their shared experience of encountering London with the eye of an outsider that informed their perspectives and shaped the photographs they took, resulting in work as diverse as the city itself.
It is extremely important that all these artists, having arrived to London from different countries, brought with them international «non-British» aesthetics and knit them into London’s photographic image that in its turn reflected an international and modern style.
It was illustrated journals that helped create an international portrait of London and brought modern aesthetics into photography. Felix Mann, who immigrated to England fleeing from Nazi Germany, became one of the founders of the Weekly Illustrated magazine and a photojournalist at Picture Post, one of the major British photojournalistic magazines of that time. After World War II, Picture Post rapidly gained popularity and invited young photographers from different countries to work for the magazine, people such as Marc Riboud, who in 1954 came to London on a journalistic assignment.
The photographic community in London after World War II became even more cosmopolitan due to the rise of photographic agencies, which were being established at the same time as photography itself was becoming more professionalised, and these agencies worked with an international pool of photographers. 1947 saw the foundation of Magnum — a legendary international photographic agency — (Henri Cartier-Bresson was a founder member of the New York and Paris offices). This agency defined high standards for both photographers and their employers, and a lot of photographers, whose works have been brought together in this exhibition, became members of that agancy including Elliott Erwitt and Marc Riboud (both were chairmen of the agency), Ernst Haas, Frank Martin (from the 1970 s) and many others.
«Another London» is not just the story of the city, as it can be seen in photographs.It is the story of a photographic community and the bizarre fates of its members — a community which came into being in part due to London itslef, one of the busiest cultural metropolitan cities of the twentieth century.