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How I encounter Britain: photograph that define the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been plotting the stories of photography in the UK. Here, Irvine Welsh, Sadiq Khan, Jeanette Winterson, Nadav Kander and others pick the kills that sum up Britishness for them

A stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee demoes striking miner( Impressing? Hes absolutely gorgeous !) George Geordie Brealey( privilege) and policeman Paul Castle( far left) at Orgreave on 18 June 1984. What followed, known as the Battle of Orgreave, was one of the most violent clashes in recent British civil record, as 6,000 the police force and 5,000 miners faced off at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire.

Brealey was said to have form for joking and clowning with police officers on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one guy, sarcastically incognito, facing an infinite militarised police force. Brealey is at once brave, good-humoured and anti-establishment a British hero.

I was two in 1984, so this event is beyond my living recognition, but it seems increasingly relevant to the separations of contemporary Britain. Orgreave celebrated a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners strike, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the disagreements of Brexit they object back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Photo: Vanley Burke

The Boy With the Flag, 1970

David Lammy, Labour MP

Vanley Burkes image transmits the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had landed on our coasts on the Windrush in 1948. My parents were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular piquancy for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis won gold medals for Britain and wrap themselves in the British pennant, these young men and women began to identify with the country that was their only home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet span for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus principles, failing colleges and the developing quarrel of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures birth certificates of multicultural Britain and conveys a being of hope and possibility. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to realize significant myriad contributions to Britain, from the rebirth of the NHS to the transformation of the Premier League. Nothing would be quite the same again.

Didcot power station, 27 July 2014

Didcot power station, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I enjoyed these refrigerating towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were bulldozed in July 2014] the latter are happens of real beauty. Whenever I passed on the train, I would put down my notebook to enjoy them. They had great sweeping curves and in all weathers transformed a different face to the world. We retain windmills and steam civilizes, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the deaths among structures: industrial ones signal the be removed from one era of technology to another. Their destruction differentiates the passing of period, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The moment when they fall to the ground scores a moment in biography disappeared for ever. No think parties gaze in feeling when that happens.

Soldiers from the Womens Royal Army Corps in their services vehicle, driving through Trafalgar Square during the course of its VE Day galas in London. Photograph: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE celebrations, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the delight of one of the most important moments of the 20 th century the win over fascism in 1945. It too symbolises the huge steps represented for gender equality in the second world war. Females recruited previously all-male positions: without their war exertion, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its excellent. It was the peoples battle, where our citizens pictured fearlessnes and relinquish beyond our modern curiosities. It had confirmed that country intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen shameful. The common good came firstly. Parties of all categorizes, races and commonwealths joined to represent Britain against the Nazis. We welcomed refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to a fairer, more equal civilization was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth defendant was the equivalent of the anti-Tory partnership we need today: it united progressives, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it stimulated radical policies popular and prevailed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass plea in the second largest world war. The beings challenged, and later reached, public ownership of major industries and the establishment of the NHS and social security. They triumphed social right in 1945. Why cant we acquire it now?

British politician Nigel Farage gratifies President Elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, NYC, on 12 November 2016.
Photograph: Wigmore/ Finn/ Splash News

Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, 12 November 2016

Irvine Welsh, columnist

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-new period of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their dreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman gets nothing but the heartbreaking comfort of playing tribunal fool to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped bring about. The dispirited and defeated former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK wastelands, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, humiliated by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous mortals posing outside a golden elevation. And the strong one has a unit scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the predominance of the 1 %. This photo represents the official coronation of the new toytown emperors and their hapless dolls, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, despotic politics in a hi-tech world.

Miner at his evening dinner, 1937. Photograph: Bill Brandt

Northumbrian coalminer and his wife, 1937

Eamonn McCabe, photographer

In 1937, German-born Bill Brandt travelled to the north of England where he would be the first to mix forms from art and photojournalism. As a native, he made a dispassionate, intruders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political detail, but his slides have become the defining images of the Great Depression.

Brandt likewise wanted to bringing his highly stylised approaching to photograph implacable photographs of the people who lived and operated in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated photograph from his northern passage take place within 1937, of a Northumbrian miner feeing his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully posed this image, sending the characters and ordering the situate, does this detract from the influence of the epitome? Brandts northern act never represented him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these situations was an extraordinary coming together of forms to create a stark and vivid image of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the borders of his art and he is rightly considered one of the most important photographers to have worked in Britain. He would also go on to work on a groundbreaking new publication that photographed all other aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly magazine filled with photographs on every sheet, the fact-finding mission testimony to make a visual register of British parties at home, at work and at play.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

London 2012 Paralympic Games. David Weir of GB celebrates winning the three men T54 800 m final . . Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark howl is on the line in his win constitute, arms spread wide and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic players for a long time, but actually the people who are achieving phenomenal events against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to people with physical disabilities, I used to feel unsure about the etiquette, but the biggest occasion that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed postures in general. It was a really special era and it shifted peoples views for ever. Weir held entitlements. He won the marathon. He triumphed four goldens in 2012.

Britain has a reputation for being a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. But that summertime we evidenced the world how to do it. Everyone pulled together and it was a positive time to be in London. This image, along with so many others, reminded us of a year in which I find very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful meter, and, for me, this image conveys so much better superpower, persuasivenes, resolve everything that the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist crowd, some of them carrying missiles, run from a barricade the government had made near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photo: Heritage Portrait/ Getty Images

Battle of Cable Street, 5 October 1936

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

More than 80 years ago in October 1936 millions of brave and intrepid humankinds, women and children gathered to oppose autocracy in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys tyrants were forced into a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the power of people and communities grouped together. A alliance was make of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to scorn dictatorship and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it showed that fascism could be repelled through communities combining something that should continue to inspire us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another alliance of legislators, the Jewish community , trade unions, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the heroic people who fought against autocracy in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to sustain that engage. To articulate: when we recognize something that is divisive, go against our British ethics and are just basically wrong, we must call them out; well never give dictatorship, racism or racism predominate. These are qualities that ring true in London, more than anywhere in the world.

Womens March, London, 21 January 2017

Womens March, London, 21 January 2017. Photograph: Dan Kitwood/ Getty Images

Kate Nash, vocalist

Whats so cool about this word-painting is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a letter on gender equality. There were a loadings of signals at the status of women parade in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a tendency within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their mane. Even in the music manufacture, guys have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now dames want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for stimulates we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This posting has such a potent meaning its unapologetic, its ferociou. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut the fuck up theyd be snacked!

It gazes as if someone has left this posting there at the end of the marching. It is a piece of art it remains on telling a narration even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Seen by Walking, 1967 Picture: Richard Long. All Right Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Moved By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really suppose having this photo in my house and it representing different things to me at different minutes in “peoples lives”. Its a representation thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it outlines, its such a nourish, simple persona. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long caused himself, by ambling up and down, up and down theres something so metaphorical and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the creator can be seen in the epitome. Long has registered his own pres on countries around the world and the practice he inhabits his encloses with this photograph. That ordinance of making art is beautiful to me; it ever sees me incredibly happy.

I first saw this image when I was a photographers assistant in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to book Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a look, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the working paper and hitherto you feel as if you might know the girl outlined. Its that kind of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an master happens in their artistry, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design periodical. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The being behind the likenes always interests me as much as the picture itself and I like to see their fingerprint in the performance of their duties. ( As told to Leah Harper )

David Cameron, June 2015

David Cameron at the European head of government summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Experience exploited this photo immediately after Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, generator

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front encompas of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambler, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the ball would revolve calmly back to pitch-black. Instead, the financial austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the cherry-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on blood-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian intelligence of the Tory party satisfied they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those inexpensive impostors, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, thrilling to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That sickening night, as the roulette wheel slackened, the weigh was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could arise. Arrogant luxury sons out of contact with the miseries its own policy had worked. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron resigned. I guess he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to reach millions.

But he hadnt “losing ones” fund, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little beings. The beings his government had been gambling with all along. Unexpectedly there was a chance for the little beings to rotate the pedal. No one told them that once again they could only lose.

The final occurrence of Britain in Focus: A Photographic History is on BBC4 on Monday 20 March at 9pm. <a

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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