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Londoners Through a Lens

14 August 2009

Last night I went to the opening of Getty Images Gallery's new 'Londoners Through a Lens' exhibition in Mayfair. The collection consists of striking black and white photographs from the last century capturing 20th century life in the capital, the changing landscape and its inhabitants.

There are some beautiful shots of beaming faces on VE Day, bustling crowds at the Covent Garden Flower Market and a hilarious shot of a baby sticking out of a 4th floor balcony in a cage (bad air quality they said, neglect we say). I loved a shot of groups of kids and adults all playing with model planes on Wandsworth Common in the 40s; apparently, the war generated a lot of interest in aircraft and a trend was born.
Apart from the portraits of famous Londoners (Michael Caine, Sex Pistols, Mary Quant etc) most of them are just anonymous faces doing ordinary, everyday things. The images have been hauled from the archives and many are rare or previously unseen - well worth a visit to provide insight into the cultural and social history of the capital.

Runs August 15 - September 5 2009.

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