Paul Gorman is…

Here We Are: Britishness considered at this crucial juncture in our history

//Janette Beckman’s 1980 image of Jerry Dammers of The Specials is included with documentary and portrait photography by the likes of Jane Bown, Bill Brandt,  Ian Macdonald, Colin O’Brien, Martin Parr and Jo Spence//

Curated by Christopher Bailey, creative director of sponsoring fashion brand Burberry, with Lucy Kumara Moore of bookshop Claire de Rouen and fashion/documentary photographer Alasdair McLellan, the exhibition Here We Are considers Britishness at this crucial juncture in our economic, political and social history.

//The room dedicated to Brian Griffin features all the images which appeared in his collaboration with Barney Bubbles, Copyright 1978. Bubbles used an image from this photo-session for the cover of Devo’s mini-LP Be Stiff//

//A favourite: Daniel Meadows’ portrait of James O’Connor and Jamie Balderstone, taken when Meadows conducted a photographic odyssey around the British Isles – covering 10,000 miles – in a double-decker bus in 1973-74//

//Co-curator Alasdair McLellan has his largest solo presentation to date at Here We Are; his photographs were taken in all four of the UK’s nations//

Housed in 18th century assizes The Old Session House, in Clerkenwell on the western fringe of the City Of London, Here We Are is a photographic feast, the abundance alleviated by a measured hang which uses the elegant space to great effect.

//Tracing paper cover of the exhibition guide//

//Entries for Brian Griffin and Alasdair McLellan//

With dedicated sections amplifying the British theme – ‘Picnics’, ‘Pomp’, ‘Lovely Day For It’ –  the show negotiates the path from Ken Russell and Bill Brandt in the 50s through the work of such greats as Daffyd Jones, Roger Mayne, Chris Steele-Perkins, Homer Sykes and Tessa Traeger to present day practitioners including McLellan and the fashion designer Gosha Rubchinskiy, whose photographs were commissioned for Here We Are and taken this month.

//From Gosha Rubchinskiy’s room; styling by Danny Reed//

//The Claire de Rouen bookshop at Here We are; note Barney Bubbles’ poster for Brian Griffin in the vitrine at the bottom of the pic and Reasons To Be Cheerful, my book about Bubbles, on the lower bookshelf//

‘9 To 5’ is the title granted to Brian Griffin’s room, in recognition of the largely white-collar subject matter of his work which appeared in three print collaborations with the late Barney Bubbles: the books Copyright 1978 and Power (1980) and the eight-page newspaper Paint Your Windows White (1983).

//Brian Griffin in his ‘Pay Attention!’ Barney Bubbles x Fred Perry shirt at last night’s private view//

//Among the images from Griffin’s Copyright 1978 is this portrait of Mark Stewart of The Pop Group//

Griffin is displaying all the photographs from Copyright 1978, and two more which didn’t make the cut, as well as examples of Bubbles’ artwork for their collaborations. This section of Here We Are acts as a fine taster for Griffin’s forthcoming book Pop, which includes an essay by me on Griffin’s friendship and working relationship with Bubbles.

//Barney Bubbles artwork for Paint Your Windows White, 1983//

//Detail of artwork mark-up for page for Copyright 1978 by Barney Bubbles//

Pop is published on October 9; order your copies here.

Here We Are – which also includes exhibits of Burberry’s Spring/Summer 18 collection – is on until October 1. More details here.

Read more about The Old Session House here.

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Author: / Published: Sep 18th, 2017 / Category: 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2010s, Barney Bubbles, Exhibitions, Reasons to be Cheerful / Comments: None

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