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How I visualize Britain: picture that specifies the country

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

A stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee substantiates striking miner( Striking? Hes perfectly dazzling !) George Geordie Brealey( right) and policeman Paul Castle( far left) at Orgreave on 18 June 1984. What followed, known as the Battle of Orgreave, was one of the severest conflicts in recent British civil history, as 6,000 police officers 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 officer on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one soldier, 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 remembering, but it seems increasingly relevant to the splits of contemporary Britain. Orgreave differentiated 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 point 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 shows the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had territory on our shores on the Windrush in 1948. My mothers were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular keennes for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis prevailed gold medals for Britain and wrap themselves in the British flag, these young men and women began to identify with the two countries that was their only home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet point for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus constitutions, miscarrying colleges and the emerging discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captures the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and convey a heart of hope and opportunity. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to attain substantial 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 plant, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I cherished these refrigerating towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were dismantled in July 2014] the latter are happenings of real beauty. Whenever I passed on the qualify, I would put down my work to enjoy them. They had enormous sweeping curves and in all climates grew a different appearance to the world. We continue windmills and steam instructs, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of houses: industrial ones signal the be removed from one era to new technologies to another. Their ruin differentiates the move of hour, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The time when they fall to the sand differentiates a moment in biography croaked for ever. No wonder beings gaze in admiration when that happens.

Soldiers from the Womens Royal Army Corps in their service vehicle, driving through Trafalgar Square during the VE Day fetes in London. Picture: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE galas, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captivates the delight of one of the most important point instants of the 20 th century the win over dictatorship in 1945. It likewise symbolises the huge steps stimulated for equal opportunities in the second world war. Women enrolled previously all-male positions: without their campaign endeavour, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples of the territories war, where our citizens showed firmnes and relinquish beyond our modern curiosities. It proved that state intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen humiliating. The common good came first. People of all years, races and people joined to protect Britain against the Nazis. We accepted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to a fairer, more equal civilization was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory confederation we need today: it joined socialists, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it established revolutionary plans favourite and prevailed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass plead in the second world war. The beings challenged, and later reached, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They won social justice in 1945. Why cant we acquire it is currently?

British politician Nigel Farage convenes 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, writer

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our new period of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their dreamings. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman get nothing but the heartbreaking gratification of playing courtroom fool to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably facilitated are carrying out. The dispirited and defeated former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions crushed, their wages lowered, subdued by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two affluent boys posing outside a golden promote. And the potent one has a team scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the predominance of the 1 %. This scene represents the official coronation of the new toytown sovereigns and their hapless dolls, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, autocratic 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 blend styles from arts and photojournalism. As a native, he raised a impartial, outsiders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political level, but his word-paintings have become the defining images of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to making his highly stylised approaching to photograph implacable paintings of the people who lived and wielded in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated image from his northern excursion 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 portrait, guiding the specific characteristics and arranging the organize, does this detract from the capability of the persona? Brandts northern wreak never made him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these envisions was an extraordinary grouped together of forms to create a striking and evocative imagination of Britain ever seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the borders of his art and he is rightly be regarded of the most important photographers to have worked in Britain. He would also go on to work on a groundbreaking new publication that photographed every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly periodical filled with photographs on every sheet, the fact-finding mission account to make a visual enter of British parties at home, at work and at gambling.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark laughter is on the racetrack in his win constitute, arms spread broad and his competitors blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic players for a very long time, but genuinely the people who are achieving incredible circumstances against the report is our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to beings with disabilities, I used to feel ambiguous about the etiquette, but the most difficult situation that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed stances in general. It was a really special period and it altered peoples positions for ever. Weir held names. He won the marathon. He acquired four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a reputation for being a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. But that summer we presented the world how to do it. Everyone pulled together and it was a positive time to be in London. This image, together with so many others, reminds me of a year in which I appeared so lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful epoch, and, for me, this image communicates so much better dominance, forte, resolve all that is the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

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

Battle of Cable Street, 5 October 1936

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

More than 80 years ago in October 1936 thousands of courageous and intrepid humanities, women and children gathered to oppose fascism in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys totalitarians were forced into a demeaning retreat something achieved only through the influence of people and communities grouped together. A organization was form of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to scorn fascism and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it was indicated that dictatorship “couldve been” defied through communities marrying something that should continue to stimulate us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another organization of legislators, the Jewish community , trade union, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , is not simply to honour and remember the courageou people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to sustain that battle. To say: where reference is view things that are divisive, go against our British significances and are just basically wrong, we must call them out; well never let dictatorship, racism or prejudice prevail. These are prices that ring true in London, more than in all regions of 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 photo is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a word on gender equality. There were a onus of mansions at the womens parade in London its become really popular to get inventive with them.

There has been a predilection within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their “hairs-breadth”. Even in the music industry, gentlemen have tried to quieten me down and box me differently. Now women want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for stimulates we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This posting has such a strong theme its unapologetic, its fierce. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be ingested!

It looks as if someone has left this poster there at the end of the advance. It is a piece of art it deters on telling a tale even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Established by Walking, 1967 Picture: Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Reached By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually imagine having this photograph in my house and it signifying different things to me at different times in my life. Its a drawing thats so mature. Before you understand what it depicts, its such a nourishing, simple portrait. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long made himself, by going up and down, up and down theres something so figurative and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the creator can be seen in the image. Long has preserved his own pressing on countries around the world and the behavior he occupies his borders with this photograph. That deed of making art is beautiful to me; it ever constitutes me improbably happy.

I first saw this image when I was a photographers auxiliary in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to publish Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a appearance, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the paper and hitherto you feel as if you are able to know the girl imaged. Its that various kinds of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an master intervenes in their artwork, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The person behind the epitome ever interests me as much as the picture itself and I like to see their fingerprint in their work. ( 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 Hour employed this photo immediately after Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, generator

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front cros of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised adventurer, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the dance would rotate calmly back to pitch-black. Instead, the financial austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the blood-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on ruby-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian psyche of the Tory party enthralled they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those cheap hoaxes, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the service of their personal ambition.

That nauseating nighttime, as the roulette wheel braked, the counting was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant luxurious boys out of contact with the miseries their policies had wreaked. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron renounced. I believe he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to draw millions.

But he hadnt “losing ones” fund, or his home, or his future. He saved that for the little beings. The beings his government had been gambling with all along. Suddenly there was a chance for the little beings to invent the wheel. No one “ve told them” that once again they could only fail.

The final escapade 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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