For a few days only, two fantastic photography exhibitions overlap at Manchester Art Gallery.

Strange and Familiar: Britain as Revealed by International Photographers
Until 29th May

The first, curated by Martin Parr and organised by the Barbican Centre, features work from photographic greats including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson and Parr himself. Strange and Familiar considers how international, mainly European, photographers have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK. Timely, as currently in Brussels a few other Europeans are also deciding what they think of the UK.

I love the concept of it needing an outsider to fully reveal the quirks of British life, such as the glorious lunacy of Sunday league football played by the unskilled and unfit on sloping quagmires all over the UK that’s captured by Dutch photographer, Hans van der Meer.

Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men
Open 19th May – until 28th August

The second, which I was fortunate to see at the Photographers Gallery in London, documents the communities living through the urban clearance programmes of inner city Manchester and Salford between 1961 and 1981.

One of the most noticeable features of the images are the amount of children playing together outside. They are shown playing games that I doubt would be considered as entertainment by today’s children or suitable by their parents. Perhaps they’re a modern casualty of too many cars, computer games and too much cotton wool.

Who’s up for a game of kerby?

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