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Photograph - Untitled [girl with umbrella] from the series On a Good Day
  • Untitled [girl with umbrella] from the series On a Good Day
    Vandenberg, Al, born 1932 - died 2012
  • Enlarge image

Untitled [girl with umbrella] from the series On a Good Day

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (photographed)

  • Date:

    1970s (photographed)
    2010 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Vandenberg, Al, born 1932 - died 2012 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Given in part by Al Vandenberg and Eric Franck. Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.431-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 1003, box C

By the 1970s, American photographer Al Vandenberg (1932-2012) had abandoned his commercial career to take street photographs. Having studied photography in New York alongside Alexey Brodovitch, Richard Avedon and Bruce Davidson, Vandenberg became a successful commercial photographer and art director working in both New York and London during the 1960s. After a period of travelling, he settled in London in 1974 with the aim of using his photographic skills to create portraits of city life without a commercial agenda.

Vandenberg’s series On a Good Day documents a wide variety of Londoners. Although made on the street, the photographs are carefully posed and the subjects present themselves head-on to the camera with ease and confidence. Shopfronts and window displays serve as the backdrops in many of the photographs. Seen together, the series gives an idea of the communities that made up London and the urban styles of the era.

The V&A acquired fifteen photographs from Al Vandenberg’s On a Good Day series as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of a black girl standing in front of a shop window holding an umbrella. She wears a wool hat with a flower and a button-up dress. In the shop window household products like 'PG Tips' and a bottole of 'Comfort' can be seen.

Place of Origin

London (photographed)

Date

1970s (photographed)
2010 (printed)

Artist/maker

Vandenberg, Al, born 1932 - died 2012 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Height: 12 cm images, Width: 17.8 cm image

Object history note

The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Al Vandenberg, 'Untitled' [girl with umbrella] from the series On a Good Day, gelatin silver print, London, 1970s, printed 2010

Labels and date

Text label for the exhibition, 'Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s - 1990s
16 February – 24 May 2015

Al Vandenberg (1932 – 2012)
From the series On a Good Day
1970 – 79

Vandenberg worked as a commercial photographer
in New York in the 1960s. He later settled in London,
where he set out to document city life, combining street
photography with portraiture. He often used shopfronts
and window displays as backdrops. Although the
photographs were made on the street, the subjects are
carefully posed and appear engaged in the process.
Gelatin silver prints (printed 2010)

Museum nos. E.423 to 426, 429, 431, 432, 434 to 436-2010 [16/02/2015 - 24/05/2015]

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process

Subjects depicted

Shop; Umbrella; Girl

Categories

Photographs; African Diaspora; Portraits; Advertising; Labels & packaging; Hats & headwear; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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