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Radical Visions photography exhibition launch at Four Corners Gallery

Friday 15 June, 2018 @ 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Black and white photography of Four Corners Gallery in the 1970s

Four Corners Gallery is launching a major new exhibition on Friday, showcasing the little-known story of two radical film and photography collectives in the East End.

Radical Visions: The Early History of Four Corners and Camerawork 1972-1978 delves into their contribution to British history. The exhibition will feature original archive material from Daniel Meadows, Nick Hedges, Peter Kennard, Mike Goldwater, Paul Trevor, Jenny Matthews, Ed Barber, Jo Spence, Susan Meiselas and many others.

The exhibition provides brilliant access into the 1970s and 1980s culture of radical film and photography that engaged with feminism, anti-racist protest, community activism and political struggle, and documented working class life and conditions.

In the 1970s, Four Corners and Camerawork (formerly the Half Moon Photography Workshop) championed photography and filmmaking as tools for social change. Part of a wider movement against politics in Britain, the two groups engaged with grassroots activism and underrepresented cultures.

As well as photographs, the exhibition will feature extracts from Four Corners’ films, Nighthawks, Bred and Born and A Kind of English, alongside posters, prints and magazines on display for the first time.

The exhibition coincides with the launch of Four Corners Archive, opening up the work of Four Corners, Camerawork magazine and the Half Moon Photography Workshop to the public.

Loraine Leeson, Chair of Four Corners and early Camerawork contributor says: “I am delighted that this significant work is at last being documented and made available to the wider public. The impact that Four Corners and Camerawork had on the UK’s independent film and photography sectors cannot be underestimated. Their work enabled many people from underprivileged and non traditional backgrounds to develop significant artistic work.”

Four Corners was founded by four filmmakers – Joanna Davis, Mary Pat Leece, Ron Peck and Wilf Thust, who aimed to: “bring films and filmmaking to those who had previously been excluded from the whole practice”. In Roman Road, Bethnal Green they set up a film workshop and cinema, screening films to local audiences.

Joined by scriptwriter Paul Hallam, editor Richard Taylor and filmmaker Lis Rhodes, their early films documented diverse communities: East End working-class women, first generation Bangladeshis and London’s gay community.

One of the earliest film workshops in Britain, it was part of a broad oppositional film culture that promoted ‘independent’ filmmaking, supporting emerging filmmakers such as Carol Morley, director of Dreams of Life.

The Half Moon Photography Workshop (later Camerawork) was gallery and workshop project created by a group of photographers in the 1970s, including Wendy Ewald, Ron McCormick, Paul Trevor, Mike Goldwater, Jo Spence and Terry Dennett. They began publishing the highly influential Camerawork magazine in 1976, which, alongside the development of pioneering laminated touring exhibitions, brought an extraordinary range of photography to UK and worldwide audiences.

For 20 years, both organisations were based on Roman Road, just two doors apart. When Camerawork closed in 2000, Four Corners successfully tendered to the Arts Council to reopen the photographic resource.

For more information, click here. You can find Four Corners Gallery at 121 Roman Road, London E2 0QN.


Friday 15 June, 2018
10:00 am - 6:00 pm