EXHIBITION: THE BLACK CHRONICLES II
at Rivington Place, London, UK

The Black Chronicles II is a newly curated exhibition exploring black presences (African and Asian) in 19th and early 20th century Britain, through the prism of studio photography.

Drawing on the metaphor of the chronicle the exhibition presents over 200 photographs, the majority of which have never been exhibited or published before. As a curated body of work, these photographs present new knowledge and offer different ways of seeing the black subject in Victorian Britain, and contribute to an ongoing process of redressing persistent ‘absence’ within the historical record.

A highlight of the show is a dedicated display of thirty portraits of members of The African Choir, who toured Britain between 1891-93, seen here for the first time. Perhaps the most comprehensive series of images rendering the black subject in Victorian Britain, these extraordinary portraits on glass plate negatives by the London Stereoscopic Company have been deeply buried in the Hulton Archive, unopened for over 120 years.

These are presented alongside those of other visiting performers, dignitaries, servicemen, missionaries, students and many as yet unidentified black Britons. Their presence bears direct witness to Britain’s colonial and imperial history and the expansion of Empire. (read more)

Exhibition dates:
Sep 12 - Nov 29, 2014

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© Arnold Odermatt, 1965, Buochs, Switzerland

Arnold Odermatt joined a Swiss police force in 1948 after being forced to give up his original career as a baker and pastry chef for health reasons. As a policeman he first appeared with his camera at the scene of an accident to take photos to complement police reports, people found this odd. At that time, photography was anything other than an independent means of providing the police with evidence.

A colleague once observed Arnold Odermatt as he took pictures for the force and was suspicious. He was ordered to report to his commander immediately. Odermatt managed to convince his superiors of the quality of the work he was doing. They allowed him to convert an old toilet in an observation post into a makeshift dark room. When the observation post was moved into another building several years later, he was finally given his own laboratory. (+)

Find more of his work here.

© Dorothea Lange, 1956, US Highway 40, California

"I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.” Henry Ford

© Florian Kellner, 2014, Vienna

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” Ernest Hemingway

Thanks for the photo FloKe!

© Elliott Erwitt, 1954, Sleeping woman with yawning cat, New York

Happy World Cat Day!

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”Robert A. Heinlein

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© George S. Zimbel, 1958, Going to class, MIT

“Schools train you to be ignorant with style […] they prepare you to be a usable victim for a military industrial complex that needs manpower. As long as you’re just smart enough to do a job and just dumb enough to swallow what they feed you, you’re going to be alright […] So I believe that schools mechanically and very specifically try and breed out any hint of creative thought in the kids that are coming up.” Frank Zappa

© Irina Ionesco, 1976, 'Griffe' ('Claw')

“And who are you, the proud Lord said that I must bow so low? Only a cat of a different coat, that’s all the truth I know. In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws. And, mine are as long and sharp, my Lord as long and sharp as yours. And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that Lord of Castamere, but now the rains weep o’er his hall, with no one there to hear. Yes, now the rains weep o’er his hall, and not a soul to hear.” ― George R.R. Martin, A Storm of Swords

© John Malmin / LA Times, March 16, 1972, Leo Altoonian, 85, waits in the lobby of the fire-damaged Barclay Hotel for his turn to get belongings out of his room

Read the full story behind the picture here.

“The house was burning, the yellow-red sky was like the sunset… Nothing would be left, the golden ferns and the silver ferns, the orchids, the ginger lilies and the roses… When they had finished, there would be nothing left but blackened walls and the mounting stone. That was always left. That could not be stolen or burned.”  ― Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea

© Marty Stuart, Sep. 8, 2003, John R. Cash, Last Portrait

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”Johnny Cash

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