The influential photographic documentation of Britain’s ‘Manplan’ era of development will once again come into focus this fall in a special exhibition held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)’s Architecture Gallery in London.
Organized by RIBA’s Photographs Curator Valeria Carullo, the exhibition uses a trove of 76 total black-and-white images taken from the archive of The Architectural Review to demonstrate their unique ability to document and explain the development of living conditions and the social ills that surround them in a manner viewers will find still highly relevant to today.
The brilliant 35mm work of photographers Ian Berry, Patrick Ward, and Tony Ray-Jones is displayed in thematic categories, including ’Religion,' 'Health and Welfare,' 'Frustration,' and 'Education,' eventually showcasing a dramatic shift in their subject matter from architecture to persons.
Along the way, the magazine’s impactful synthesis of art direction, design, and reportage-style imagery is presented inside Pyrah Design's 2D designs to add further context. Norman Foster, one of several guest editors during the eight-issue period, says the exhibition is “a tribute to the golden age of The Architectural Review which, in large part, was due to the single-minded vision of an enlightened patron of the arts with a social conscience — it is an enviable legacy.”
“This exhibition, with the raw power of its photographs, brings us back to a time of challenges, disparities, disillusionment, but also a time of questioning, protesting, campaigning — in many ways, much like our here and now. It is a timely reminder of the importance of citizens’ participation in the decisions that affect their communities and the role architects can play in creating a fairer society,” Carullo said, adding to the show's historical vein.
Drinkall Dean provided further exhibition designs for the project.
Wide-Angle View: architecture as social space in the Manplan series 1969-1970 opens to the public on September 13th and will remain on view until February 24th next year.
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