Friday, May 25, 2007

How We Are: Photographing Britain

I haven't forgotten my New Year's resolution. In fact, I went to the private view of the Tate's Hogarth exhibition, but didn't get around to actually blogging about it. Which was a pity, because the show was fascinating - there's so much social observation going on in Hogarth's paintings there wasn't really enough time to look at them all properly. I remember the Tate had to throw us out at closing time.

Well, on Tuesday this week I went with Catriona to the How We Are exhibition - the Tate's first show devoted to photography. It's as fascinating as the Hogarth beacuse of the interesting angles the curators have taken and the inherent sociological interest of how life has changed in the 170 odd years since photography was invented.

Either the curators are fans of Sarah Waters' novels, or Sarah Waters uses archive photography for research. Lots of the exhibition looked like illustrations for her books: Victorian cross-dressing music hall artistes ( I thought:"Ooh, that's a hunky sailor!" - who turned out on closer inspection to be a woman in sailor drag); photographs of women inmates of Victorian asylums on the outskirts of London (Fingersmith, anyone?); - and photographs of women firefighters in World War II.

How We Are: Photographing Britain
Tate Britain
22 May - 2 September

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