Centre for Photography and Visual Culture

Co-Optic: Documentary Photography in the 1970s

Exhibition

Co-Optic: Documentary Photography in the 1970s

4 October–4 November 2014
Dorset Place Gallery, Brighton

Enoch Powell campaigning', a photo by Paul Hill, is among the pictures on display for Professor David Mellor's Brighton PhotoBiennial exhibition, 'Co-Optic: Documentary Photographs of the 1970sEnoch Powell campaigning', a photo by Paul Hill, is among the pictures on display for Professor David Mellor's Brighton PhotoBiennial exhibition, 'Co-Optic: Documentary Photographs of the 1970s

Uncovering a lost episode in the development of British social documentary photography, this exhibition explores how the Co-Optic group attempted to establish an authentic representation of 1970s Britain.

By 1974, documentary realism had a special prominence in English television, film and photography. The Co-Optic group laid claim to combine the new ‘independent photography’ inspired by US examples, with the style and forms of 60s photo-journalism. The Co-Optic group included then emerging practitioners Martin Parr, Daniel Meadows, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Nick Hedges, Fay Godwin, Paul Hill, Ron McCormick and Gerry Badger, driven by the organisational skills of fellow photographer and entrepreneur, Stephen Weiss.

This exhibition, curated by Professor David Alan Mellor, celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Co-Optic group’s Real Britain postcard project. It draws on the Co-Optic archive, featuring original prints donated by the photographers, as well as prints from the Real Britain postcard project. This will be the first public showing of this material from the Co-Optic archive; it includes photographs, posters, newsletters and ephemera related to seminars, exhibitions and events organised by Co-Optic, alongside the Real Britain project: a two-part edition of twenty-five photographic postcards.

For more information please visit the Brighton Photo Biennial website.

Organised in collaboration with Brighton Photo Biennial 2012