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FACING BRITAIN – British Documentary Photography since the 1960s

FACING BRITAIN – British Documentary Photography since the 1960s Claimed

photography, documentary, British photography, survey show

Exhibition Overview

FACING BRITAIN – British Documentary Photography since the 1960s

Exhibition Type
Art, Contemporary Art, Popular Culture
Area Size
200 to 500 sqm
500 to 1000 sqm
more than 1000 sqm
Designed For
Museums and Galleries
Hiring Fee

For a 3-month rental excl. transport, installation, insurance:

This hiring fee is set for the following exhibition format:
See all available package options
Core Experience
Original collection
Exhibition Partners
FACING BRITAIN was produced by the IKS, Düsseldorf and it's new photo department IKS PHOTO.

Curated by Ralph Goertz who is specialized in American, British, Italian and German photography since the 1960s. In 2019 his "Martin Parr Retrospective" was named as "one of the nine best exhibitions in Europe" and the exhibition "Subject and Object. Photo Rhine Ruhr" at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf was named as the "best exhibition of the year 2020" in Düsseldorf.

All original works are framed and stored in Düsseldorf, ready to go!


Credits / Image Information

© IKS-Medienarchiv 2023



Facing Britain brings together for the first time almost all important representatives of British documentary photography since the 1960s in the largest survey exhibition outside the UK.


Corinna Denzer-Schmidt, Niederrhein Nachrichten


Long forgotten and only recently rediscovered positions such as John Myers, Tish Murtha or Peter Mitchell are shown alongside works by world stars such as Martin Parr and David Hurn.

The show thus offers a unique insight into the developments in the field of photography in the United Kingdom, which are interwoven with continental Europe and North America, but also independent of them. The documentary aspect proves to be one of the great strengths of British photography, which is capable of depicting a part of Europe in transition in a multifaceted, surprising and artistically original way.

Facing Britain was therefore deliberately chosen as a temporal bracket for the period of Britain’s membership of the European Union and their forerunners between 1963 till 2020. Particularly in view of the current Corona pandemic, the exhibition proves to be a break in the artistic development of an entire nation.

Facing Britain describes the various epochs from the decline of the coal industry, the Thatcher era with the Falkland conflict, the Brexit that split the island into two parts. A special focus is on the 1970s and 1980s, which were influenced by David Hurn, Tish Murtha, Daniel Meadows, Peter Mitchell, Tony Ray-Jones and Martin Parr, when artistic documentary photography gained an importance worldwide.

“Facing Britain is a revealing exhibition about the attitude of a society caught between protest, desperate workers and hip bankers. And you should have seen this show, because it shows us insights into a reality of life that we did not know before, but which are necessary for a deeper understanding of the social upheavals on the island.”

Martina Conrad, SWR 2


“Impressive group exhibition!”

Patrick Bahners, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

This late tribute to the pioneers of British documentary photography also demonstrated the difficulties of photography in Britain. British photography – apart from its established Magnum photographers such as David Hurn or Martin Parr – had difficulties to assert itself on the international market, not least because of its socially critical or political content and socially critical approaches, which are unmistakable in the work of Ken Grant, Tish Murtha, Homer Sykes, Paul Reas or Anna Fox.

Facing Britain presents a portrait of the unique foreignness of Great Britain – divided, unequal and interspersed with classes, but marked by deep affection, humanity and humour. The photographs speak for themselves, bear witness to artistic concepts and attitudes and convey historical contexts. They call for a view of today’s United Kingdom beyond the clichés. Inequality and identity are still the key concepts that dominate the nation and define what makes the exhibition more relevant than ever. Previously virulent themes such as youth unemployment, the decline of the mining industry or protest and demonstration against the policies of Margaret Thatcher are historically illuminated in the exhibition and critically questioned by the participating photographers.

Recent works by Kirsty Mackay, Paul Reas, Robert Darch, Roy Mehta or Niall McDiramid also reflect current issues on topics such as gender justice, diversity, consumer society, Brexit or migration.

Facing Britain presents for the first time the development of British photography in the UK over the past 60 years including the influence of photographers of colour, female photographers and the young generation. To present and to understand the significant shift from social documentary to artistic photography will give a new perspective on British photography!

“A powerful imagery. No fewer than 47 of these photographers are now represented with individual works or series in the show “Facing Britain” curated by Ralph Goertz in the Kunsthalle Darmstadt, which adds up to an impressive retrospective of British documentary photography from the early 1960s to 2020.”

Chritsian Riethmüller, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

And with up to 450 works and 60 participating photographers this exhibition is a one of it’s own presentation of the media of photography and the vibrant UK photo scene.

Participating photographers


Mike Abrahams, Meredith Andrews, James Barnor, Rob Bremner, Rachel Louise Brown, John Bulmer, Tessa Bunney, Elaine Constantine, Thom Corbishley, Robert Darch, John Davies, Craig Easton, Anna Fox, Ken Grant, Judy Greenway, Mohamed Hassan, Paul Hill, David Hurn, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Kalpesh Lathigra, Barry Lewis, Markéta Luskačová, Kirsty Mackay, Fran May, Stephen McCoy, Niall McDiarmid, Daniel Meadows, Roy Mehta, Sandra Mickiewicz, Margaret Mitchell, Peter Mitchell, David Moore, Tish Murtha, John Myers, Mark Neville, Kevin O’Farrell, Martin Parr, Mark Pinder, Yan Wang Preston, Ryan Prince, Kavi Pujara, Tony Ray-Jones, Paul Reas, Sophy Rickett, Simon Roberts, Michelle Sank, Arpita Shah, Syd Shelton, Hazel Simcox, Dave Sinclair, Homer Sykes, Alys Tomlinson, Jon Tonks, Dan Wood, Tom Wood and others.

VR and App Content



General Information

Created In
Available Package Options
Collection and interpretation
Content only
More Details About Technical Requirements
All prints are made by the artists, most of them are originals and signed by the artists. Some vintage prints need special technical requirements in terms of light.
Additional Information
Please ask for the full list of works.


Past and Future Venues
2020, 3 month, Goch - Germany
2021, 4 month, Darmstadt - Germany
2022, 3 month, Goslar - Germany
2022, 3 month, Krákow - Poland
2022, 2 month, Hannover - Germany

Extra Info

Curatorial excellence
Star object
Highlights Details
Best curatorial excellence by Ralph Goertz, director of the IKS.
Best public performance, press critics and all time best visitors at most venues.
High quality selection of internationally renowned photographers.
Covers all important and major themes of our time.
Exhibition Add-Ons
Catalogue / book
Documentary film

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