First on display at the Museum of London in 2010, London Street Photography, has attracted over 125,000 visitors, making it the Museum’s most popular temporary exhibition to date. The exhibition showcases more than 138 images taken between 1860 and 2010 by over 50 photographers who have recorded fleeting London moments, capturing ordinary people in an ever-changing metropolis. It traces two compelling histories: the development of the practice, aesthetics and technology of street photography over 150 years, and the simultaneous growth of a modern city.
Organized chronologically, the photographs capture the change from Victorian city of pushcarts to the multicultural city of immigrants in the 21st century; changing modes of transportation from horse and carriage to double-decker buses to stretch
limousines; and a kaleidoscope of public places from markets to squares and neighborhoods of every type. The people depicted include the fashionable and the down-and-out, the immigrant and the street urchin, and people of every ethnicity, all linked by the implicitly democratic medium of photography.
London Street Photography, examines the photographers’ motives and the broader social and culture contexts in which they worked. Each photograph embodies the element of chance that defines street photography. Every piece comes alive with a sense of spontaneity and movement, capturing a sudden expression, a brief encounter or a momentary juxtaposition.
Notable photographers such as John Thompson, László Moholy-Nagy, George Rodger, Bert Hardy, Roger Mayne and Nick Turpin are featured, as well as numerous anonymous photographers whose contributions have been just as important in recording the story of the English capital. The exhibition includes a revealing film in which four street photographers from different generations – Wolfgang Suschitzky, Paul Trevor, Matt Stuart and Polly Braden – reflect on their work.