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This Is Britain
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Young Couple in a Backyard on a Summer’s Day, 1975, printed 2012, gelatin silver print, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund, 2018.108.2

This Is Britain

Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s

Vanley Burke » Pogus Caesar » John Davies » Anna Fox » Paul Graham » Sunil Gupta » Chris Killip » Karen Knorr » Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen » Martin Parr » Graham Smith » Chris Steele-Perkins »

Exhibition: 29 Jan – 11 Jun 2023

National Gallery of Art

Constitution Avenue NW
DC 20005 Washington



Mon-Sat 10-17 . Sun 11-18

This Is Britain
Pogus Caesar, Handsworth Riots: Birmingham, United Kingdom, September 1985, printed 2022, gelatin silver print, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Alfred H. Moses and Fern M. Schad Fund, © Pogus Caesar/OOM Gallery Archive, ARS, New York, DACS, London

Britain experienced profound changes in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was racked by deindustrialization, urban uprisings, the controversial policies of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Photography became a central form of creative expression during this period, supported and disseminated through new schools, galleries, artists’ collectives, magazines, and government funding.

This Is Britain brings together the work of a generation of photographers who were commenting on the deep unrest of these pivotal decades. Vanley Burke, Pogus Caesar, Anna Fox, Paul Graham, Sunil Gupta, Chris Killip, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Martin Parr, and others pictured communities, traditions, and landscapes affected by Britain’s shifting social and economic realities. Together, they photographed a nation redefining what it meant to be British and, ultimately, modern.