Facing Britain brings together for the first time almost all important representatives of British documentary photography in a large overview exhibition outside the UK.
Long forgotten and only recently rediscovered positions such as John Myers, Tish Murtha or Peter Mitchell are shown alongside works by world stars such as Martin Parr. The show thus offers a unique insight into the developments in the field of photography in the United Kingdom, which are interwoven with continental Europe and North America, but also independent of them. The documentary aspect proves to be one of the great strengths of British photography, which is capable of depicting a part of Europe in transition in a multifaceted, surprising and artistically original way. Facing Britain was therefore deliberately chosen as a temporal bracket for the period of Britain’s membership of the European Union and its forerunner between1963 till 2020. Particularly in view of the current Corona pandemic, the exhibition proves to be a break in the artistic development of an entire nation.
Early on, Parr had knowledge of the work propagated in the Rhine and Ruhr metropolises of Duesseldorf, Cologne and Essen, which also influenced John Myers, Anna Fox and Paul Hill. In England, the work of David Hurn, Chris Killip, John Myers or Daniel Meadows, which was less well known in this country, was regarded as the photographic reference. The photographer Tony Ray-Jones, who died early in 1972, was considered the British Garry Winogrand and pioneer of contemporary photography in Great Britain with his impulsive and direct street photography.