A site of cultural exchange
London is a city of continuous cultural exchange, home to institutions that connect diverse audiences both within the capital and beyond. Pioneering this cause is The Photographers Gallery in Soho, founded in 1971 as the first organisation in the world devoted purely to the photographic medium. While hosting an eclectic programme of temporary exhibitions, the institution also runs a series of collaborative projects that reach far beyond its walls, inviting international contributions to a variety of photographic themes.
Family Photography Now
One such project is Family Photography Now, which seeks to explore and reimagine notions of 'family' through individual photographs submitted from across the globe via an Instagram feed. The project comprises numerous directives linked to the theme. Below, from top to bottom are: Caroline Irby’s photograph of Somali refugee Maria Abdullahi with her daughter and niece, in response to the theme of 'blended family'; Misa Hamasaki’s three children on a beach for 'becoming a parent'; and a glimpse into Shannon Smith’s loving relationship with her dog for the theme 'dogs being part of your family', a directive set out by the UK’s Kennel Club. Click on the link towards the bottom of the page to find out more about the project and how to get involved.
To inspire a discourse around its diverse and thought-provoking content, The Photographers Gallery has initiated Touchstone, a regular display of a single photograph on its Eranda Studio Floor. Visitors are encouraged to respond to an image with drawings and writing within the studio space, and in doing so engage in a debate that highlights individual experiences produced by looking at photographs. Beneath is the latest entry, Haley Morris-Cafiero’s self-portrait Anonymity Isn’t For Everyone, with a link to further visitor responses in the External links section below.
Club des Femmes
Furthering The Photographers Gallery’s incentive to question societal norms, it is also working in collaboration with queer feminist collective Club des Femmes on Instructions for an Unmade Film. The project asks for individuals to contribute one shot to a film script, responding to the questions: 'How are women imagined by other women at the beginning of the second century of cinema? What does a modern heroine look like? What does she do? [And] how are we encouraging audiences to engage with her?'. This is an international initiative, and a link with instructions on how to join in can be found further down this page.
World in London
The Photographers Gallery’s place as a visual hub for celebrating London’s diversity has a long history, and in 2012 this was showcased in its The World in London project. Coinciding with the 2012 Olympics held in the capital, this unique project was made up of 204 portraits of Londoners from 204 nations from around the world. The portraits captured the rich individuality of the city's residents and the eclectic power of photography. A link to the project can be found at the bottom of the page.