Shirley Baker, A Different Age

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Untiled (women with cows), 1983
C- Type colour print
16.7 x 23.5 cms (7 x 9 ins)

LondonArt & Culture

Shirley Baker, A Different Age

Documenting the older generations of a simpler age, Shirley Baker's emotive work through the decades is compiled in new exhibition...

Known for her street photography—mainly around the working class neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester—Shirley Baker was one of a very few female street photographers in post-war England; her quietly enrapturing images possessing an individual quality that distinguished the sensitivity she held for her subjects.

Shirley Baker, A Different Age at James Hyman Gallery London

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Chester, 1966
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
28×34.5cms (11x14ins)

Alongside her now iconic black and white portraits, London’s James Hyman Gallery presents an online exhibition (after all, that’s what we do these days) of largely unseen photographs from the vaults. The engaging show, co-curated by Hyman alongside Baker’s daughter Nan Levy, also includes images of colour, something rare in the pioneering photographer’s portfolio.

The exhibition—viewable on the gallery’s website until 24 July—explores her representation of older people, the show celebrating Baker’s humanist documentary work specifically from the mid 1960s to the mid ’80s, a reminder of how the older generation went about their daily lives, enjoying a sense of community that we’re not privy to these days; especially as the coronavirus pandemic has kept the elderly away from friends and loved ones.

Hampered by the denial of a role for women in a man-lead industry, Baker’s contribution to photography was not recognised until recent years. With these honest and raw images conjuring feelings of nostalgia and a hankering for a simpler life, let us be thankful that her work is now appreciated by a wider audience.

Shirley Baker, A Different Age continues online until 24 July.

@jameshymangallery

Shirley Baker Manchester (Man with Pigeons), 1967

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Manchester (Man with Pigeons), 1967
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
29.5 x 23.5 cms (12 x 9 ins)

Shirley Baker Manchester, 1985

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Manchester, 1985
C- Type colour print
20x15cms (8x6ins)

Shirley Baker Manchester, 1965

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Manchester, 1965
C- Type colour print
18.5x25cms (7x10ins)

Shirley Baker Chester, 1960

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Chester, 1960
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
33×24.5cms (13x10ins)

Shirley Baker Manchester, 1968

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Manchester, 1968
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
29x21cms (11x8ins)

Shirley Baker Manchester, 1965

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Manchester, 1965
C- Type colour print
21×29.5cms (8x12ins)

Shirley Baker Ancoats, Manchester, 1968

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Ancoats, Manchester, 1968
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
29×21.7cms (11x9ins)

Shirley Baker Untitled (woman and horse), 1968

Shirley Baker (1932-2014)
Untitled (woman and horse), 1968
Vintage Gelatin Silver Print
31x24cms (12x9ins)

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