We wouldn’t necessarily pick the milk bottle as the defining image of British life but it’s this humble object that three photographers – Dutch Cas Oorthuys, Japanese Akihiko Okamura and Chilean Sergio Larrain – all fixate on in the new Barbican exhibition Strange and Familiar. We love that Martin Parr, the father of photographing British domesticity, has curated this gargantuan exhibition that features 23 international photographers’ takes on Britain. There’s a fair amount of doom and gloom on show: Okamura documents The Troubles in Belfast, Raymond Depardon the poverty of Glasgow in the 1980s and Bruce Davidson shows us the mining communities of Wales. But the overall feeling of the exhibition is one of tender bemusement.

The Royals obviously feature heavily, and we love Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photograph of a woman atop two men’s shoulder at the coronation of George VI. While Frank Habicht gives us London in the swinging sixties, skirts hitched up to the knickers, floppy hats and killer eyeliner, all captured in beautiful black and white. For the fashion-focused, Hans Eijkelboom’s The Street and Modern Life shows the tribal uniforms of British high-street shoppers and for another pop of colour, we headed to the Tina Barney collection where portrait sitters look stiff-upper-lipped and a tad repressed. Does it get more brilliantly British than that?

For more information on the exhibition, visit the Barbican website.