Photographs by Paul Reas 1972 to 2012: Paul Reas emerged from the new wave of British colour documentary of the mid-1980s. This is the international première of Reas’ first major retrospective, spanning 40 years from Thatcherite Britain to today’s recession.

A contemporary of Martin Parr, Paul Reas is part of the pioneering generation of photographers who revealed and critiqued British class and culture in the 1980s and 90s. Strongly influenced by his working class upbringing in Bradford, Reas used humour and sharp observation to comment on a new corporate and commercial world epitomised by heritage industry sites, retail parks, and supermarkets.

  • I Can Help (1988), Reas’ seminal body of work, explores the consumer boom of the eighties with its American-style out-of-town shopping malls.
  • Flogging a Dead Horse (1993) surveys the emergence of the ‘heritage industry’: museums and theme parks that offered a nostalgic and often commercialised version of the past.
  • The Valleys Project (1985) depicts the impact of the decline of steel and coal industries in Wales and the emerging workforce of women in ‘New Technology’ industries.
  • From a Distance (2012/13) documents today’s property development boom and the changes facing the traditionally working class and culturally diverse neighbourhood of Elephant and Castle in South London.

"Daydreaming About The Good Times?" also features rarely-seen early black and white photographs made in Wales and Bradford; never-before-exhibited work from Flogging a Dead Horse and I Can Help; as well as vintage material from Reas’ personal archive including contact sheets, magazine spreads of editorial work, and examples of his award-winning and subversive advertising campaigns for Nissan, British Telecom and Volkswagen.

Redeye, Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art, Market Buildings, Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU, UK
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