24 NOVEMBER 2023 - 27 JANUARY 2024

Photography on the Move: The Half Moon Touring Shows 1976 - 1984 

This exhibition explored how trailblazing photography exhibitions toured 1970s Britain with the help of a humble laminating machine.

This exhibition shared the remarkable story of the Half Moon touring shows, revealing a little-known moment in British photographic history. 

In 1976, photographers at East London’s Half Moon Gallery developed an innovative approach to exhibiting. With little money, a leaky roof and a DIY attitude, they arranged their work on card panels and ran them through a laminator, creating unpretentious exhibitions-in-a-box that travelled the country via British Rail.

Documenting working lives and rural traditions, shedding light on international conflicts and injustices closer to home, the Half Moon touring shows introduced powerful imagery by an emerging generation of socially engaged photographers including Daniel Meadows, Susan Meiselas and Chris Steele-Perkins, alongside the work of activists and artist-educators. Their visually striking sequences of images and text offer a compelling picture of 1970s political concerns and social conditions that still resonates today. 

Bypassing elitist arts institutions, the exhibitions toured to alternative venues including community centres, left-wing bookshops, student unions, churches, a prison and even a laundrette. By 1984, over fifty shows had reached people across the UK, playing a pivotal role in how documentary photography was seen and used. 

Photography on the Move offered a unique opportunity to see some of the surviving original panels, alongside archival material that tells the story of their production. With the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Four Corners digitised many of the touring shows, which visitors were able to view in their entirety. 


This project was supported using public funding by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. 


The Guardian

Aesthetica magazine


Photography on the Move: the story behind the laminated touring shows |
18 January 2024

Half Moon Photography Workshop and Cockpit Gallery members Graham Evans, Mike Goldwater and Claire Grey join us to share the story behind laminated touring shows and to discuss how this radical format might inform photographic practice today.

Photography on the Move: Gina Glover and Janine Wiedel in Conversation | 
27 January 2024

Photographers Gina Glover and Janine Wiedel joined us for an informal discussion in the gallery,  sharing insights into their touring exhibitions that explored themes of feminism and education.