It’s not exactly the Family of Man for the 2020s, but the scope of these Postcard exhibitions has something of the same attempt to show a shared humanity.
‘Postcards from Great Britain is a large-scale project from Shutter Hub, which invited photographers to share their visions of British culture through photographic images and create conversations and exchange. Pop-up exhibitions were held in 19 separate locations across Europe, showcasing thousands of postcard-sized images, and this exhibition at Cambridge University will be the 20th and final exhibition in the series.’
Postcards from Europe ‘has been created from a call for response and collaboration, triggered by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and reflecting on Postcards from Great Britain … In a significant time in history this exhibition sets out to share aspects of European culture, spanning all genres of photography, and collating images which include social, political, historical, traditional and observational responses.’
Work from both collections is being exhibited at the Alison Richard Building, West Road, Cambridge, from 12th January to 25th February 2022. The hundreds of photographs are spread over four floors – Europe on the ground, first and second floors, Great Britain on the 3rd.
The work covers all genres from landscape to portraiture, documentary to conceptual, architecture to abstract. If the inevitable iconic attractions are there, they are a blessedly small minority and there is a much greater emphasis on the everyday, on the small scale and on that which the photographers’ eyes have picked out from the confusing mass of sights and scenes that we face every day. The rich diversity of Britain and Europe is revealed.
Showing the work at postcard size in inspired. The emphasis is on the shared intimacy of people talking to people, a way of connecting, rather than the artist/photographer presenting to an audience. Sadly, it is something of an elegy to the real postcard, an increasingly rare way of making tangible connections. The small size of the images also allows for a large number to be included in the show, which compensates for the disadvantage that some are rather too high up to be read easily. Five of my pictures are included in the GB section and four in the European.