Another Way of Telling

8 December 2018 - 6 January 2019

Co-organiser: Shanghai Center of Photography,Three Shadows Photography Art Centre

Curator: Hao Xu

Sponsor: British Council

Exhibition Opening:December 08, 2018 at 16:00

Location:Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, 155A Caochangdi, Chaoyang District, Beijing


Three Shadows Photography Art Centreis delighted to present the exhibition: “Another Way of Telling” showcases almost 100 works from the rich, dynamic careers of Anna Fox and Karen Knorr, two leading documentary photographers in the UK. In their work, acerbic wit is brought to sharp social commentary on subjects that are seen through two highly individual perspectives that wrap in a warm dose of humor the photographers’ penetrating insight into the issues of our times. The exhibition includes selections from representative themes in each of their bodies of work.


Additionally, it features entire series that represent photo essays on the subject of class, working environments, and self-awareness,presented from distinct, alternative perspectives. Fine examples are Anna Fox’s two series Work Stations, and Basingstoke, displayed in contrast to Karen Knorr’s series titled Belgravia, all of which highlight the gulf in class attitudes. Karen Knorr’s Punks, produced together with Swiss photographer Olivier Richon, documented the first generation of the punk music movement in the UK in the mid-1970s. 


In her more recent work, Karen Knorr constructs scenes for her photographs from the real and virtual worlds to produce the series Fables and India Song. In her recent work, Anna Fox continues to explore stereotypes that have become entrenched in lifestyle magazines,that underscore contemporary aspirations, both British in specific, and by example in today’s ubiquitous consumer-driven world. As described by British photo critic Sean O’Hagan, her ‘subject matter is the ordinary and the everyday,’ but what makes the resulting images striking is how she ‘approaches it with an artist's eye for the absurd and the revealing.’ Through these works we see the photographers’ thinking about culture, gender, environment, and nature. 


Since the late 1970s, there has been a volume of activity in the field of documentary photography in the UK, which both builds upon and stands as a reaction to the documentary tradition. Photography played an incisive part in constructing a British documentary movement from the mid 20th-century, that began in 19th-century realist literature (for example, Charles Dickens, George Eliot), soon extended to film (figures like John Grierson) and, in time, to television. The spirit of questioning and re-invention that characterized the particular period of New, or Expanded Documentary that emerged from the 1980s, was new in that it began to draw on strategies from contemporary art, primarily in its questioning and play with notions of authenticity and truth. That play, in terms of the mix of carefully observed reality and consciously constructed illusions, is embodied in the work of Anna Fox and Karen Knorr, described here as ‘another way of telling’.






Anna Fox (b. 1961, Alton, UK) graduated from West Surrey College of Art and Design College in 1986. She began working with photography in the early 1980s, emerging as one of the most exciting color documentary photographers of the period.  Influenced by the emergence of a new British documentary tradition – the wave of new colorists such as Paul Graham and Martin Parr – her fascinating study of the bizarre and the ordinariness in daily life in Britain life resulted in a combination of social observation with highly personal diary projects. Anna is concurrently a professor of photography at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham.


Karen Knorr(USA / UK) was born in Germany and in the 1960’s grew up in San Juan Puerto Rico. In the 1970s, she moved to the UK where she has lived ever since. Knorr’s photography explores cultural heritage and its ideological underpinnings. Questions concerning post-colonialism and its relationship to aesthetics have permeated her photographic work since the 1980’s. Karen ’s work developed a critical and playful dialogue with documentary photography using different visual and textual strategies to explore her chosen subject matter that ranges from the family and lifestyle to the animal and its representation in the museum context. Karen has been a professor of photography at the University for the Creative Arts since 2010. 





Hao Xu (b. 1987) is a photographer, artist, writer and curator based in Shanghai. He is a contributing writer for The Art Newspaper China.He is a contributor for the photography study archive Ray Art Center and to Chinese Photography Magazineetc.


As an artist, in recent years, he has participated in exhibitions in China and Europe, including PhotoFairs Shanghai, Jimei x Arles International Photo Festival and FORMAT International Photography Festival in the UK. His self-published editions have been exhibited in The London Art Book Fair, Arts Libris Barcelona Feria International Art Book Fair and more. His writing and research focuses on queer theory and identity, landscape and typology, and camera-less photography using alternative techniques.






Three Shadows Photography Art Centre is honored to present "Another Way of Telling" with the support of the British Council as part of its "Inspiring Women in the Arts" programme. "Inspiring Women in the Arts" celebrates the achievements of female artists and encourages young women to enter the creative industries, raising their confidence and enabling them to make more informed career decisions.


Three Shadows would like to thank, on behalf of the artists, the University for the Creative Arts. We also give our thanks to Anna Fox and Karen Knorr for their assistance with the exhibition, and the exhibition curator Hao Xu for the originality and dedication he brought to the project.


We're pleased that after Three Shadows hosts the debut of SCoP (Shanghai Center of Photography), the exhibition will travel to other venues including Lianzhou Foto; Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Xiamen; and OCAT Xi'an. We express our gratitude to our partner venues. 



The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. It creates friendly knowledge and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries. This is done by making a positive contribution to the UK and the countries it works with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust.


The British Council works with over 100 countries across the world in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Each year it reaches over 20 million people face-to-face and more than 500 million people online, via broadcasts and publications. Founded in 1934, it is a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body.


The British Council operates as the Cultural and Education Section of the British Embassy in Beijing and Cultural and Education Section of the British Consulate-General in Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chongqing. Its Exams work and English Centres across China operate as Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprises.