The Sunday Times Magazine has brought its collection of writing and photography to Manchester’s CUBE Gallery. The free exhibition celebrates the glossy magazine’s 50th year since its first publication, which was heralded by the then owner’s groans of ‘my God, this is going to be a disaster’. Of course the exhibition proves him completely wrong.
The pictures take centre stage, spread over three rooms and displayed on beautiful illuminated black stands. The curators have arranged the photos to reflect the magazine’s wide spectrum of interests in both international and home affairs. This is starkly highlighted in one instance by an image of Elizabeth Taylor being displayed directly above grubby miners in County Durham.
Throughout the gallery you get a real sense of the importance and the power journalistic photography can have in today’s society. From atrocities all over the world come some of the most innovative, commanding and downright beautiful images of the 20th century, from a massacre in the Vietnam War to a husband carrying his dying wife to hospital in Bangladesh.
There is also an illuminating insight into the mind-set of 1960s Britain from the magazine’s readership on display, with thinking it was too American and below their intellectual standard.
However, this exhibition firmly highlights that the magazine, instead of being that comfort read on your parents’ kitchen table, has become one of the most exciting platforms for photography and journalism in the United Kingdom today. For photography fans this unassuming yet fascinating exhibition is a must and the bonus is it’s free!
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