[The Photographers' Gallery]



Sergio Larrain

In the Winter of 1958 the Chilean photographer Sergio Larrain produced an extensive photographic essay about London which will be exhibited for the first time this summer. With the unjaded eyes of a foreigner, Larrain captured the bohemia of Soho, the exotica of the Chelsea set and the ebb and flow of crowds present on the streets and transport Systems of the city. These photographs serve as an incredible document of a coal-fired smoke-laden London that has long since disappeared.

With the benefit of hindsight London in 1958 - 1959 was on the brink of economic and social upheaval, rationing was over1 there was full employment, the Prime Minister Macmillan, declared the British public 'had never had it so good' and the swinging sixties were just around the comer. Larrain's photographs show hints of change in the air despite also showing a city firmly rooted in tradition with class division still evident everywhere.

Larrain has an unusual eye for composition and visual relationships which mark his highly individual style and constantly challenges pictorial clichés. The raw quality of the composition is enhanced by the use a small-format camera and grainy black and white film.

Sergio Larrain was born in 1931 in Santiago1 Chile. He began taking photographs in 1949
and travelled to Europe and the Middle East. He worked in Chile as a freelance photographer
from 1954, becoming a staff photographer on the Brazilian magazine 0 Cruzeiro in 1956.
He became a full member of Magnum in 1961.




Suburbia is not always what is seems; the same is perhaps also true of Suburbia, this ambitious new project from The Photographers' Gallery. Rather than the stereotyped views of suburbia with which we are, unfortunately, still presented by much of the media, Suburbia will explore the enormous changes which have occurred in these areas over the past three decades. What has been the response of longer-term residents to the increasingly diversified racial mix of these areas? What have been the experiences of these ethnic communities as they have moved further from the centres of cities? Are suburbs havens of conservative values or breeding grounds for rebellion, a calm escape from the bustle of the city or seething with violence just below their manicured surfaces? Bringing together important historical works with newly-commissioned pieces, Suburbia examines a crucial part of life in the twentieth century.


[The Photographers' Gallery]