Clockwise from top left: Anthony and Cleopatra, Panel2, Jack, Silhouette on St-Paul's

A new exhibition of photography by students at Cambridge opens next week, looking at original approaches to visual representations of English Heritage.

We have really been delighted with the quirky interpretations the photographers have explored.

Thurstan Redding

An exhibition of work from the first large-scale photographic project produced by Queens' College Art Society will be launched next week. Sponsored by Epsom, the aim of the project - entitled ‘Cambridge Faces’ - is to present a series of portraits, black & white or colour, film or digital, studio or outdoors, exploring different aspects of English Heritage. Some of the work can be viewed at

The society has gathered six young photographers from Cambridge University, and will be presenting their creative interpretations of the theme during two main events this March: a gala event on the evening of 12 March at the Fitzwilliam Museum followed by a free public exhibition at the Cambridge Union during the 14 and 15 March. All portraits are for sale, and all profits divided between selected charities.

Inspired by a big year for the country, with the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee on the horizon, the students chose to both interrogate and celebrate the national heritage that attracts millions of tourists to England every year. The society felt the theme gave the photographers enough flexibility, but the participants were encouraged to adopt fresh perspectives on a classic theme.

“We have really been delighted with the quirky interpretations the photographers have explored,” says Thurstan Redding, president of the society, who is also exhibiting work. “This exhibition is not a direct tribute to English Heritage, but rather a tribute to those who constitute and evolve with it.”

Approaches on display include double-exposing faces with British landmarks, portraits of fellows dressed as what they wanted to do as children, portraits of the English caught ‘off guard’. “Photographic techniques in themselves served as a tool to give the classic theme a fresh twist: one of the photographers built his own camera obscura for the series, giving results that would have been impossible to achieve in any other way,” says Redding.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, will be in attendance at the black tie gala event at the Fitzwilliam Museum, along with a host of distinguished figures from the arts including photographer David Bailey and Jussi Pulkannen, CEO of Christie's auction house. Money raised at the event will go to a number of charities, including Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

This event will be followed by a two-day exhibition of the work at Cambridge Union on the 14 and 15 of March, which will be free to enter and open to all. The society is already working on a second instalment of the Cambridge Faces project, to take place next March - although the next theme has yet to be selected.

Added Redding: “This will be a great year for the country. There's a general feeling that English traditions are obviously omnipresent, but constantly being revisited and re-interpreted. We want to pay tribute to this great phenomenon through portraiture of English heritage.”

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