‘Are we so different?’: A photographic exhibition of people in Oxford taken 100 years apart

The Museum of Oxford, in collaboration with Photo Oxford Festival, has opened an exhibition of photographs of people in Oxford taken 100 years apart.

The exhibition, called ‘Are we so different?’, features portraits taken by two Oxford-based photographers, Henry Underhill and Kazem Hakimi.

Henry Underhill, a grocer with a shop in High Street, took photos of his friends and family in the late 19th and early 20th century. Candid and full of movement, they offer a rare glimpse of people of that era in their moments of leisure – on cycling trips, relaxing by the waterways, or taking a picnic.

Some 100 years later, local photographer Kazem Hakimi, owner of the well-loved chip shop in Iffley Road, takes similarly candid photos of his customers, quickly capturing them as they are waiting for their food order.

The photographs are exhibited side by side to highlight similarities, including in photographic composition, facial expression or fashion accessories.

The exhibition opened on Saturday 7 January and will run until Saturday 1 April.

The Museum of Oxford, in Oxford Town Hall, St Aldate’s, is open between 10am and 5pm, Monday to Saturday. Admission to the photography exhibition is included in the gallery entry (by voluntary donation).

The exhibition will then be on display again at Pegasus Theatre, Magdalen Road, during the Photo Oxford Festival, between 14 April and 6 May. The festival’s theme this year is: The hidden power of the archive.

The Museum of Oxford, which is run by Oxford City Council, was reopened in October 2021 following a £2.8m refurbishment that tripled the size of the museum space.

For more information, and a full programme of events (curator tours and a workshop) linked to the exhibition, visit here: https://museumofoxford.org/whats-on

Join the discussion about the exhibition online at:

MOX social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and TikTok) @MuseumofOxford

Councillor Shaista Aziz, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Communities at Oxford City Council, said: “It is really exciting to be able to showcase the work of two innovative local photographers, Henry Underhill and Kazem Hakimi.

“Even though their lives were very different and their photographs were taken a century apart, their work still bears striking resemblances.

“It is fascinating to see the similarities and differences – and to think about how Oxford will change over the next 100 years.”