Wall Street, New York, 1960 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

Solo exhibition: Neil Libbert

This Summer, visit Neil Libbert‘s first major solo exhibition at the Michel Hoppen Gallery.  Here, we take a look at the photographer’s life and work.

Libbert’s work as a photojournalist and freelance photographer looks back in time, presenting life for ordinary people and celebrities in a personal and intimate way, with his work mainly focused in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s.

Old people in Portugal, 1973 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Old people in Portugal, 1973 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

Background

Neil Libbert was born in Salford, Manchester in 1938, and studied at Regional College of Art, Manchester. In 1957, he opened his own studio and began working as a photojournalist for the Manchester Guardian, capturing images to be used in their newspaper. Having moved their offices to London in 1961, he eventually left the company in 1965, working by contract for The Sunday Times, the New York Times, Granada TV and The Illustrated London News. In 1968, Libbert, moved to freelance photography once again, his subject matter being diverse in subject, with him regularly covering Performance Art for the Observer.

Group of people (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Group of people (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

Libbert’s Work

Libbert has gained his reputation through his work as a street photographer, often choosing to take photo’s of ordinary, working class members of society, going about their everyday life. Libbert’s ability to get close to his subject, yet catch them in the moment, creates an extremely private mood to his work, with the observer feeling almost as if they are another part of the scene themselves.

Boys at the cinema, 1957 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Boys at the cinema, 1957 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

His work is often highly intimate, capturing people who are vulnerable or highly emotional, this can be see through his photography that covered the Brixton Riots (1981), and work earning awards for his compassionate photography of the homeless.

Brixton Riot, 1981 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Brixton Riot, 1981 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

However, as well as street photography and photojournalism, Libbert has taken various portraits of famous people: Winston Churchill, Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay), Helen Mirren, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon, to name a few. These photographs tend to encompass the same sense of intimacy as Libbert’s other images.

Helen Mirren, 1969 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Helen Mirren, 1969 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Andy Warhol Tate Gallery, London (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Andy Warhol Tate Gallery, London (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

In 1999 Libbert was the Nikon News Photographer of the Year, and also won a World Press Photo Award for his coverage of the Admiral Duncan pub bombing in Soho.

Brixton, 1996 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Brixton, 1996 (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

Exhibition at the Micheal Hoppen Gallery

Neil Libbert’s work is being shown at it’s first major solo exhibition at the Micheal Hoppen Gallery until the 21st July. The exhibition includes work from Libbert’s 60 years of photography, most depicting everyday life in cities across the world, from Salford, Lancashire, to Paris and Harlem. Don’t miss out on seeing sever never-before-seen prints, including Outside the Black-E Arts Centre, Liverpool, 1973 and West Indian Arrivals, Waterloo Station, London, 1961, with most images in the exhibition being Libbert’s own vintage prints.

Children Climbing (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert
Children Climbing (b/w photo) / Photo © Neil Libbert

 

Find out more

Visit the Neil Libbert exhibition

View Neil Libbert’s works in the archive

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