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British Photographers at Home and Abroad

Mid-Century Photographs from the Collection of Norman Hall

September–October 2016

01. Larry Herman, A Noguchi sculpture in the Wall Street area of New York City. Photographed from thirty floors above street level, c. 1967. Birds-eye view of small human figures milling about a large dark cube.
02. Graham Finlayson, Haiti - Presidential band before the Palace, c. 1958–1966. Rear view of a uniformed man with a large wind instrument strapped to his back.
04. Mike Andrews, Nassau, Bahamas. Stable boys exercising racehorses on Cable Beach, c. 1960. Four boys on horses in knee-deep water. A fifth boy is in the water with a bicycle.
07. Derrick Knight, Watutsi Dancer, Ruanda Urundi, c. 1959. Close-up of the face of a traditionally costumed Watutsi dancer, looking off to the right of the frame.
08. Graham Finlayson, Haiti - Crude posters like this one - all of them extolling Duvalier for near-divine virtues, are emblazoned all along the main seafront road in Port au Prince, c. 1958–1966. A poster with a portrait of a man and the words "pour le grand leader, il est temps que la République d'Haiti songe a elle-même"
10. Frank Monaco, The buildings were once cottages of people who have emigrated, c. 1966. Hilly landscape and two one-room structures in the right foreground.
11. Michael O'Cleary, Untitled, c. 1955–1961. Park scene with scattered trees and benches in silhouette.
12. Michael O'Cleary, Winner, c. 1955–1961. Dark landscape with the frame divided by white goal posts.
13. Lord Snowdon, The late Mr. William Stone, in Albany, London, c. 1966. Figures silhouetted in front of a doorway. Figure on the left lifts a tophat to two individuals facing him.
14. C. O'Gorman, A holiday scene at North Berwick with everybody doing something as though compelled by the traditions of seaside behaviourism, 1963. Seaside pathway with scattered figures sitting and standing. A flagpole and small structure stand in the midground left.
15. Graham Finlayson, Untitled, c. 1958–1966. Water splashes around a horse and rider moving right to left across the frame as a crowd watches in the midground.
16. Patrick Ward, Street in the Tiger Bay dockland area of Cardiff, Wales, c. 1961–1966. Silhouettes of three children in the foreground right on a wet cobbled sidewalk.
17. Larry Burrows, Untitled, c. 1959–1966. Three figures recline in a small boat as a standing goldolier guides it through a tree-lined river.
18. Barnet Saidman, A charming record of one aspect of English social life - a lecture to the Women's Institute on pot plants. Mr. Saidman made this as one of a series on England for the Milan Exhibition, c. 1965. A man on the right stands by a small table of plants as an audience of women watches on.
19. Godfrey Macdomnic, One of a series of pictures made by GODFREY MACDOMNIC for the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals movement, c. 1958. An old woman holds a cat on the table in front of her while two veterinarians in white coats wrap its tail in gauze.
20. Lord Snowdon, A tense moment at Crufts Dog Show, c. 1958. A man walks alongside a small leashed dog while a number of seated and one standing competitor look on with other small dogs.
21. Brian Seed, The horsewoman is Miss Althea Urquhart, a competitor in the Dublin Horse Show, c. 1966. A well-dressed woman in a tophat rides sidesaddle on a horse with neck bowed down.
22. Grace Robertson, Cat Fanciers, ​c. 1956. Two middle-aged people examining a cat, which is held up in front of the figure on the right using their right hand.
24. David Moore, 5P.M. Rush Hour - London, ​c. 1955. Five figures walking on a sidewalk, blurred with motion.
25. Bert Hardy, Untitled, ​c. 1957. A man in military uniform stands closely to a woman against an outside wall.
26. Brian Seed, Untitled, ​c. 1954–1966. A man in a bowler hat and checkered suit looks to the left of the frame with two other men.
27. Patrick Ward, One of a series of pictures to do with a slump in shipbuilding along the Clyde, ​c. 1966. A group of men standing outside of a brick building. One figure in a hat and jacket is in the foreground left.
29. John Bulmer, The billiards room at Nelson, Lancashire, ​c. 1966. A man in the foreground is out of focus, back to the camera, leaning over the pool table. Three men watch on from benches in the background.
31. David Newell Smith, The man in Downing Street was praying for Mr. Wilson who had just become the Prime Minister, ​c. 1966. A figure with an umbrella kneels on the lower left of the frame across the street from a horse-drawn carriage.
32. Grace Robertson, One of a series...on the four children of Dennis Mathews, c. 1957. A little girl in a checkered dress plays a trombone in a sitting room.
33. M. Gray, Seen through the open back door of a cottage in a small Welsh village, ​1961. A woman in undergarments washes her feet in a tin bucket.
34. M. Gray, A perfect mother and daughter picture, with the child subconsciously mimicking the mannerisms of her mother, 1961. A little girl and mother look at each other with heads resting in their hands and matching headwraps as they sit at a table set for tea.
35. Lewis Morley, Astral Soap campaign, ​c. 1963. Rear torso view of a woman washing with bar soap.
36. N.M.W. Mansill, Untitled, c. 1956. Lounging nude man and woman. The man is seated playing a small pipe, the woman laying down.
37. Bert Hardy, Untitled, c. 1957–1960. A seated man in the foreground looks toward sunlight coming from the right of the frame. In the background left, a woman and baby play on a bed.
38. David Moore, Nuns at Lourdes, c. 1959. Two nuns look to the photographer, one holding a miniature camera to her face.
39. Brian Seed, Untitled, c. 1956. A man kneels by a religious chalk drawing featuring a crying Christ in a crown of thorns.
40. Donald McCullin, A bleak scene which expresses a bleak mood, from Finsbury Park, c. 1966. A young man in the foreground walks through the snow; the wall behind him reads "ban the Jews" in graffiti.
42. Larry Burrows, Bullfighting (Hemingway), 1959. A bullfighter at the perimeter of the fighting ring drinks from a ceramic vessel as Hemingway looks on from the other side of the wall.
43. Felix H. Man, Unemployed, c. 1955. A man sits at a table set with a pitcher and mug, one hand to his face, gazing to the left of the frame.
44. Thurston Hopkins, The secret games of children, c. 1957. A young boy and girl stand beneath a tree, the young boy pointing to the left of the frame.
45. Michael O'Cleary, Madrona, near Segovia, Spain, 1962. To farm workers seated in the midground, another using horses in the background. The scene is scattered with mounds of dirt and bales of wheat.
46. John S. Murray, Untitled, c. 1957. Close-up of an ostrich head peering over a wire fence.
47. David T. Grewcock, Untitled, c. 1963. Close up of a dog, blurred with motion, chewing on something.
48. Peter N. Johns, Lisa, c. 1962. Close up of a drooling baby in profile, facing the left of the frame.
49. John Sadovy, Untitled, c. 1956. A black and white cat on the sidewalk gazes back at the photographer.
50. Cecil Beaton, Chinese College of Physical Training, 1945. Two figures, blurred with motion, engaged in karate-type fighting.
51. Cecil Beaton, Tangier, c. 1945. View down a narrow alleyway; a figure peeks out of a doorway on the right.

Press Release

As a photo editor for the British Journal of Photography, the Photography Year Book, and The Times of London, Norman Hall helped to elevate photography to the respected art form that it is today. Hall served as an editor of the Photography Year Book from 1954 to 1963. Through his careful curation of this yearly publication, Hall celebrated established and emerging photographers alike for their ability to "record the truth, not just because of any natural regard for principle but because they know that people who see photographs like to believe them" (Hall, Photography Year Book, 1962).

 

Many of the photographs in this exhibition, and the majority of Hall's selections for publication, focus on human interest throughout both their native Britain and foreign countries. In his foreword to the 1960 Photography Year Book, he wrote, "Humanity is most concerned with humanity and when the camera gets close to human beings and their problems it gets close to what I believe is the real purpose of photography". These images were made for the printed page, to be featured in magazines and newspapers, but Hall and his audience valued them as works of art. The photographs in his collection provide a glimpse into the mid-century state of humanity in various parts of the world. He considered photography to be "the one true international language," (Hall, Photography Year Book, 1962) with the ability to reveal the similarities between people across the globe.

Reminiscent of Steichen's groundbreaking Family of Man exhibition, Hall's collection attempts an encyclopedic sampling of photographic styles and subjects. The British photographers captured universal moments that took place in their own homes and on unfamiliar streets. Many of the images were part of a series or photographic essay, and Hall chose the most appealing and thoughtful photographs for his books.

 

The 32 photographers featured in this exhibition were influenced and encouraged by the successful reception of images by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, and William Klein. Additionally, the proliferation of photographic magazines such as LIFE helped to create a wider audience for photography. On the gallery walls, one will find acclaimed professional photographers such as George Rodger of Magnum, Lord Snowdon, Brian Seed, and Larry Burrows. In addition, as in Hall's publications, the works of lesser-known photographers are featured alongside those of the established image- makers, and prove to be of equal technical and conceptual quality.

 

British Photographers at Home and Abroad is on view at the Keith de Lellis Gallery through October 22, 2016.