John Claridge

June 8 – July 14, 2024

6pm – 9pm


This exhibition marks the 80th anniversary of the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre. On 10 June 1944, 643 inhabitants of this Limousin village were simultaneously executed by the Waffen SS and its buildings burnt down. The ruins have been preserved as a memorial to this humanitarian disaster.
Today’s terrible events are a grim reminder of man’s capacity for the worst horrors. Unfortunately, Oradour is just one of the uncountable such atrocities committed throughout the history of the world.
John Claridge visited Oradour-sur-Glane in February 2014. Our exhibition presents the powerful and moving photographs he brought back, recalling Piranesi’s magnificent etchings of the ruins of Rome.

It was a cold, early morning with a gusty wind that sent shivers down my spine. The heavy rain and threatening, dark clouds did not help.
As I took my first steps into Oradour-sur-Glane, it was deserted and filled with a sense of foreboding. Every street, building, automobile and house seemed to belong to a terrible sadness.
I had a feeling of entering, not just another time, but another dimension, with no escape. 
 — John Claridge


John Claridge was born in London’s East End in 1944. He began taking photographs at the age of eight with a plastic camera won at a local funfair. He left school at fifteen and took a job in the photography department at McCann-Erickson, becoming David Montgomery’s assistant. During his two years there, he was inspired by many, including the legendary designer Robert Brownjohn. When just seventeen, he turned up on the doorstep of Bill Brandt’s Hampstead home to present the renowned photographer with a print, and was received with courtesy and kindness. In 1963, he opened a studio near St. Paul’s Cathedral, specialising in magazine work and advertising. He pursued a career in advertising until recently, producing work for many large corporations. In 1967, he wrote, produced, and shot a controversial short film, Five Soldiers, about the American Civil War, with implicit allusion to the Vietnam War.

John Claridge has authored some fifty books, mostly published by his own company Lizard’s Eye, including Warriors, Heroes, Boxers (2018) and The Miners 1971 (2018), but also notably One Hundred Photographs (1988), for his exhibition at Hamilton’s Gallery, London, and East End (2016), published by Spitalfields Life Books.

He has received numerous awards from many organisations for his work in advertising and design, including London International Advertising Awards, Cannes International Advertising Festival, Design and Art Direction UK, Association of Photographers UK, The One Show New York, Clio Awards Worldwide USA and Creative Circle Awards.

John Claridge’s work is held in museums and private collections worldwide, notably the Arts Council of Great Britain, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of Modern Art. He exhibits regularly in London.

All photographs © John Claridge