A Brief Revolution: photography, architecture and social space in the Manplan project.

3 Mar 2023 – 11 Jun 2023

Regular hours

11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00
11:00 – 19:00

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The Photographers' Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Just off Oxford Street so accessible by bus services to Oxford Street and a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus Tube Station.
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In 1969 and 1970 a revolution took place in the pages of Architectural Review.

An ambitious survey of architecture and town planning in late 1960s Britain, called Manplan, used photographic work by leading photojournalists and street photographers to powerfully articulate the theme of each issue.

Although photography had been integral to Architectural Review since the 1930s, the images that defined Manplan were like nothing that had been seen in the magazine before. The dramatic black and white images, shot on a 35mm camera with a spirit of photo-reportage, created a strong visual statement to support the text of each edition, with themes such as 'Religion', 'Health and welfare', 'Frustration' and 'Education'.

Unusually for the time, people were shown front and centre in the built environment – shifting the focus away from the architecture itself to the way people lived and used the social spaces being studied.

Over eight issues of Architectural Review, the overall message of Manplan was powerful, uncompromising and highly critical of contemporary living conditions. Many of the themes highlighted by the series are still relevant today.

A Brief Revolution features works by photographers Ian Berry, Patrick Ward, Tim Street-Porter and Tony Ray-Jones, and the words and designs of Manplan editor Tim Rock and designers Michael Reid and Peter Baistow.

This exhibition is realised in collaboration with The Photographers' Gallery and RIBA, and is curated by Valeria Carullo, curator, The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection, RIBA British Architectural Library. An exhibition showcasing the Manplan photographic archive will open in September at the Architecture Gallery of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD.

The Robert Elwall Photographs Collection comprises around 1.5 million images from the earliest days of photography to the present day. The collection includes photographic archives of individual architects and practices, travel and topographic images from across the world, press photographs from major architectural journals, and large bodies of work by some of the best known architectural photographers of the 20th century. The collection includes prints, negatives, slides, transparencies, photographically illustrated books and digital files. The collection is housed at The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) – the global professional membership body driving excellence in architecture.

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