Roger Bamber: Out of the Ordinary
1 April to 3 September 2023
at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery
This major exhibition celebrates the life and work of popular Brighton based photographer Roger Bamber (1944–2022).
Bamber’s distinctive eye created engaging and striking images that capture an ordinary moment in an extraordinary way. In a career that included work as a press photographer for the Daily Mail, The Sun, The Observer and The Guardian, Roger captured a rapidly changing world with insight, humour and an unerring eye for a good image. He lived in Brighton, and the city and its people feature in many photographs including iconic images of the seafront, the Royal Pavilion and the dramatic Victorian sewers.
“A true pictorialist, he captures the beauty of shape and form, always with a wry sense of humour and even a twist of anarchy.” – Eamon McCabe
Explore the unique world of Roger Bamber, for 50 years one of Britain’s leading photojournalists, whose career encompassed not only riots and bombings and the crazy world of rock and pop in the twentieth century but recorded with a sympathetic eye the demise of traditional British industries and the old steam railways. His graphic photographs are well known for their distinctive, often wryly humorous, style and strong visual impact and have been published worldwide. Bamber created engaging and striking photographs that capture an ordinary moment in an extraordinary way.
Bamber, who died in 2022 was twice British Press Photographer of the Year, twice British News Photographer of the Year and won many awards for his features on the arts. Towards the end of his career, he worked mainly for the Guardian and was happiest finding creative people with a story to tell. He preferred working outdoors, ideally within sight of the sea, and showcasing ordinary people – celebrating just how extraordinary all of us can be.
CEO for B&HM Hedley Swain said: “Roger Bamber is an important national figure in news photography but he is also very much a Brighton figure so I am so pleased that it is Brighton & Hove Museums holding this exhibition. “We are incredibly grateful to Roger’s wife Shan Lancaster for all her support since Roger’s untimely death last year. We hope the exhibition will be a fitting memorial to his achievements.”
Roger Bamber was born in Leicester in 1944 and trained in graphic design, a discipline that informed all his future work. He was only 20 years old when he joined the Daily Mail as a photographer in 1965. It was the start of a career that saw his pictures used in every national newspaper, which allowed his passion for working with artists and other creatives full rein. He lived for most of his life in Brighton, where the beach became his outdoor studio and scores of his fellow Brightonians his willing subjects. Images of people and events in Brighton & Hove will provide a strong focus on the city in two of the three galleries.
The exhibition will include around 70 framed photographic prints and 10 large reproductions, interpretation, slide shows and film.
A short film of Dr Rommi Smith’s poem Sonnet Variation for the Man Whose Name I Cannot Trace , featuring music by Christella Litras and vocals by Rommi Smith and actor Lladel Bryant is shown in the galleries. Originally commissioned by TopFoto, the owners of the Roger Bamber archive, and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the poem is inspired by Bamber’s Leicester photograph Ashpit Cleaner, 1968 (displayed next to the film) and meditates on the unacknowledged black workers recruited to help build British industries.
A book by Unicorn Press – Roger Bamber: Out of the Ordinary accompanies the exhibition.
About Brighton Museum & Art GalleryBrighton Museum & Art Gallery, part of Brighton & Hove Museums, is one of Britain’s oldest public museums. Located in the Royal Pavilion Estate at the heart of the city’s cultural quarter, the collections showcase arts and crafts from across the world and history from Ancient Egypt to modern Brighton.
Admission fee payable, Brighton & Hove residents free
Royal Pavilion Gardens, Brighton BN1 1EE Tel 03000 290900
Open Tue-Sun 10am-5pm, Closed Mon (except Bank Holidays 10am-5pm)