Strange and Familiar: Britain as revealed by international photographers
London. Baker Street underground station. 1958-1959.
© Sergio Larrain / Magnum Photos
INSPIRATION + ASSIGNMENT #47
For April’s assignment, we invite you to raise a cup of tea (and your camera) to celebrate the best (or perhaps the worst) of British culture.
In your opinion, what can be considered essentially British?
Regardless of whether you are a British citizen, a foreign resident or a tourist, we want you to show this particular point of view and reveal your feelings about Great Britain in your photographs.
The Strange and Familiar exhibition (on show at the Barbican Gallery), curated by British Photographer Martin Parr, shows how foreign photographers saw and see Great Britain. Each of the 23 photographers in the exhibition records different characteristics of life around Britain in their own distinctive style. “The exhibition will reveal a very different take on British life than that produced by British photographers. It is both familiar and strange at the same time.” says Parr.
Parr has photographed Great Britain exhaustively, often in non-traditional ways. His photographs are comic and opinionated. With works titled “Think of England”, Bad Weather and The Last Resort: Photographs of New Brighton, he scrutinises his homeland, sometimes in a not very flattering way, and has done the same thing as a foreigner in other countries.
Back to our main theme, a quick survey with our students revealed that red buses, afternoon tea, bad weather, queuing and stripping off at the first sight of sun are very British things. According to a NatCen report from January, the Top 20 British icons are:
1. Traditional Roast Dinner, 2. Fish and chips, 3. BBC, 4. Union Jack, 5. Wimbledon, 6. A British cup of tea, 7. The London Underground, 8. The Royal Family, 9. Only Fools and Horses,10. The Beatles, 11. NHS, 12. The City of London, 13. Buckingham Palace, 14. Red buses, 15. Winston Churchill, 16. Queen, 17. Queuing, 18. Cream tea, 19. James Bond, 20. Stonehenge.
This is a good start point but don’t stop there. We prepared a Pinterest board to get you inspired.
Experiment with documentary style and work on a set of images to tell a story. Think on how to get a single shot that summarises the whole idea. Work with composition and juxtaposition. If needed, crop your images to reveal details that may go unnoticed due to distracting elements in the photograph.
Send us your images to win a £200 discount voucher to book any Course or Workshop at LSP plus two complimentary tickets to see Strange and Familiar at the Barbican Art Gallery.
Please submit your photos here (maximum 5 images per person). Login or register to be able to upload. Deadline: April 30th.
Click here to see all LSP Newsletters