A Place in Society; Visual Arts A Powerful New Photography Exhibition Depicts the Turbulent Times in Britain, from the Late 1960s until the Late 1980s. Julie Richards Scans through the Striking Black-and-White Images

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 28, 2008 | Go to article overview

A Place in Society; Visual Arts A Powerful New Photography Exhibition Depicts the Turbulent Times in Britain, from the Late 1960s until the Late 1980s. Julie Richards Scans through the Striking Black-and-White Images


Byline: Julie Richards

A MAN looking rather defeated and apprehensive sits crouched in a sterile, cold room.

The photograph by Paul Graham is of a DHSS waiting room in Bristol and captures a typical working-class scene from the past - welcome to British society in 1984.

Beyond the glamour and romance of the slickly marketed boy bands such as Duran Duran and Wham and the glamorous, materialistic lifestyle depicted by popular TV shows such as Dallas as Dynasty, there was a darker, depressing side to Thatcherite Britain.

No Such Thing As Society is a photography show which captures on film these turbulent times in Britain from the late 1960s until the late 1980s.

It was a period when society was in a state of unrest and transition, witnessing the effects of de-industrialisation and the rise of Thatcherism, the miners' strikes and conflict in Northern Ireland as well as radical shifts in the structure of society itself.

On show at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, the internationally touring exhibition is a joint collaboration between the British Council and Arts Council Collection. It brings together 150 photographs by 33 documentary photographers, among them Keith Arnatt - who also has a show at the Glynn Vivian Gallery in Swansea - Victor Burgin, Peter Fraser, Paul Graham, Brian Griffin, Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Tony Ray-Jones, Chris Steele-Perkins, Graham Smith and Homer Sykes.

The title of the exhibition directly references the now infamous statement by Margaret Thatcher in an interview she gave to Woman's Own magazine. She said, "Society?

There is no such thing. There are individual men and women and there are families."

The exhibition starts at the end of the 1960s, a time when Pop Art had cemented photography's place in contemporary culture. …

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A Place in Society; Visual Arts A Powerful New Photography Exhibition Depicts the Turbulent Times in Britain, from the Late 1960s until the Late 1980s. Julie Richards Scans through the Striking Black-and-White Images
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