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Sing loud, sing Proud

It struck me that several of the entries in the Our Lives photography exhibition at London's Proud Gallery showed people determinedly enjoying themselves in contrast to their harsh environment.

On the way back from breathlessly worshipping the new iMacs at Apple Towers, I stopped into London's Proud Gallery, in between Charing Cross and Embankment stations. Proud is usually synonymous with rock portraiture and live photography, but in recent weeks the spotlight has been turned on us ord'nary folk.

My last visit coincided with Ken Russell's Lost London Rediscovered, a series of black-and-white images from the 50s. It was indeed a lost world, of rain-slicked bombsites and teenage teddy girls. I loved it.

Currently showing is the Our Lives photography exhibition, a collection of everyday images from around the world. People at work, people at play, people in motion and stillness.

It struck me that several of the entries showed people determinedly enjoying themselves in contrast to their harsh environment. Mancunian children splash in a paddling pool outside a boarded-up terrace in A Darlington's 'Salford Street'.

Other photos seem quintessentially British in depicting people refusing to bow to the elements: Paul Broadbents' 'Rough Seas' sees people dwarfed by monstrous waves, but seeming to dance delightedly in the raining surf. The title of Ian Irons' 'Harrow Borough vs Boreham Wood' says it all, with spectators swathed in coats and hats and apparently more interesting than the mud-clogged football they are so intent on. Glen Pearson's 'Umbrella Malfunction' describes the price of a walk on the seafront when the wind swoops to carry us away.

My favourite was by Paul Adams, a striking image called 'Death on the Line'. The picture's simplicity of composition told the story of a life lost though a poster and a spraypainted legend. It pulled me up short and stuck with me the rest of the day.

Our Lives will run from 25 August to 8 September 2007. Entry to Proud Gallery is free.