Strangely Familiar: Visitors’ Views of Britain Since The 1930s

Views of the life in Britain that make us rethink the things we see

Glasgow in 1980 – Raymond Depardon

To see yourself as others see you is a gift. These pictures by international photographers reflect how they saw the place on visits to Britain since the 1930s. As the title of the show at London’s Barbican tells it, Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers includes social documentary, street photography, portraiture and architectural photography by some of the leading photographers of 20th and 21st century.

We see Edith Tudor-Hart’s images of London’s slum housing, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s pictures of the Coronation of King George VI in 1937 and Robert Frank’s portrayal of life in London alongside the coal mining towns of South Wales in the early 1950s. As photographer Martin Parr nots: “It 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.”


Hans van der Meer – Mytholmroyd, England, 2004

Strange Britain

Cas Oorthuys – London, 1953

Strange Britain

Akihiko Okamura – Northern Ireland, 1970s

Strange Britain

Edith Tudor-Hart – Gee Street, Finsbury, London, ca. 1936

Tina Barney – The Red Sheath, 2001

Henri Cartier-Bresson – Coronation of King George VI, Trafalgar Square, London, 12 May 1937

Candida Höfer – Liverpool IX, 1968

Strange Britain

Sergio Larrain – London. Baker Street underground station. 1958-1959


Lead Image: Glasgow in 1980 – Raymond Depardon

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