Another Kind Of Life at the Barbican

Sometimes, the most interesting stories belong to the underdogs of society. That’s the message conveyed by the Barbican Art Gallery’s current exhibition, Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins. Open until 27 May, we went along to check it out.


The Barbican has collected the work of 20 photographers, who have each explored communities from around the world living on the edges of society. Some of these photographers had even become a part of the community themselves, in order to achieve the best shots. This makes Another Kind of Life particularly intimate and honest – it really feels like you are discovering hidden stories.

Another Kind Of Life Barbican copyright Ian Gavan Getty images 

Those stories include Broken Manual, by the American photographer Alec Soth (above, in his section of the exhibition). His images were taken as Soth tracked down people who have decided to live outside of human civilisation, as he tries to explain why and how they did it. Elsewhere, a large collection of little pictures tells the tale of Casa Susanna in New York state (below), where a group of male friends met during the 1950s and ’60s to dress as women, away from the judgement of the communities they lived in.  

Casa susanna collection copyright art gallery of ontario

Our number one tip for Another Kind of Life is to take your time: there’s a lot to see (it’s spread across two floors) and some of the displays are quite intense, so it’s a good idea to dedicate a whole afternoon to it. The Barbican is a huge building with several bars and restaurants, so we suggest having a break in the middle – the Martini Bar is a good spot for a cosy chat about the exhibition.

Another Kind of Life: Photography on the Margins is open at the Barbican Art Gallery until 27 May. Click here to find out more and book tickets, starting at £13.50.

Images, from top: Evelyn, La Palmera, Santiago from the series La Manzana de Adán (Adam’s Apple), 1983 © Paz Errázuriz; Anonymous, San Francisco, 2009 from the series Boulevard © Katy Grannan, courtesy the artist and Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; Another Kind of Life, Barbican © Ian Gavan, Getty Images; Casa Susanna Collection attributed to Andrea Susan [Susanna at Casa Susanna], 1964-1969 © Art Gallery of Ontario 



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