Camera Press at 70

​Drawing on an unparalleled collection of images, and featuring work by some of the most iconic figures in the industry, this exhibition offered a fascinating insight into photography from the 1940s to the present day, including the work of photographic legends such as Yousuf Karsh, who was the first photographer signed to the agency, Cecil Beaton, Baron and Antony Armstrong-Jones. The photographs in this exhibition reveal the changing trends in portrait photography as well as the evolution of the role of celebrities and distinguished public figures over the last 70 years. The more formal studio portraits of the 1940s such as Karsh’s iconic bulldogshot of Winston Churchill are followed by 1950s Hollywood glamour epitomized by stars such as Marilyn Monroe. The swinging Sixties heralded the influence of a more relaxed, intimate, documentary-style of photography, as seen in Jacques Lowe’s seminal photographs of JFK and the work of one of the world’s first paparazzi, Elio Sorci. This is then contrasted with the gritty social-realism of punk and the arrival of Margaret Thatcher in the 1970s. While the flamboyant 80s saw pop superstars take centre stage with the birth of MTV-culture; the 90s was the decade of cool Britannia, of Brit Pop heroes Oasis and Blur and the rise of supermodels and ‘It Girls’. Noughties images of British icons Amy Winehouse, and Dame Helen Mirren and Vanessa Redgrave round off the exhibition in tandem with many of the biggest names in sport, entertainment and fashion. Contextualizing the impressive collection of portraiture were arresting social documentary images from Camera Press’ archives, as well as a fascinating visual exploration of fashion through the decades.