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How I experience Britain: photo that specifies the country

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

A astonishing miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee evidences impressing miner( Impressing? Hes absolutely lovely !) George Geordie Brealey( claim) 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 clangs in recent British civil record, as 6,000 police officer and 5,000 miners faced off at the Orgreave coking plant in South Yorkshire.

Brealey was said to have form for joking and jester with police officers on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one humanity, 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 remember, but it seems increasingly relevant to the schisms of contemporary Britain. Orgreave tagged a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners ten-strike, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the divides of Brexit they time back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Image: Vanley Burke

The Boy With the Flag, 1970

David Lammy, Labour MP

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

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet season for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus principles, miscarrying colleges and the developing discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures the birth of multicultural Britain and convey a being of hope and opening. 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] they were circumstances of real knockout. Whenever I passed on the study, I would put down my journal to experience them. They had great sweeping curves and in all conditions changed a different face to the world. We continue windmills and steam instructs, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the deaths among houses: industrial ones signal the move from one epoch of technology to another. Their eradication observes the extend of hour, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The moment when they fall to the dirt ratings a moment in history moved for ever. No amazement parties gaze in admiration 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 observances in London. Picture: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE observances, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the glee of one of the most important point minutes of the 20 th century the win over dictatorship in 1945. It too symbolises the huge strides constructed for gender equality in the second largest world war. Wives penetrated previously all-male occupations: without their conflict try, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its better. It was the peoples of the territories war, where our citizens evidenced gallantry and relinquish beyond our modern imaginations. It had confirmed that regime intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen humiliating. The common good came firstly. Parties of all first-class, hastens and commonwealths united to defend Britain against the Nazis. We greeted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The need for a fairer, more equal culture was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory partnership we need today: it united socialists, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it became revolutionary programmes popular and triumphed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass plead in the second world war. The beings expected, and later attained, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They prevailed social right in 1945. Why cant we win it is currently?

British politician Nigel Farage congregates 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 brand-new epoch of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their daydreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman goes nothing but the lamentable enjoyment of playing court jester to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped bring about. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, subdued by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two wealthy humankinds posing outside a golden filch. And the powerful one has a team scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the ascendancy of the 1 %. This draw represents the official coronation of the new toytown emperors and their hapless marionettes, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, despotic politics in a hi-tech macrocosm.

Miner at his evening meal, 1937. Image: 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 combining forms from art and photojournalism. As a native, he delivered a dispassionate, outsiders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political extent, but his visualizes have become the defining likeness of the Great Depression.

Brandt also wanted to drawing his highly stylised approach to photograph sturdy photographs of the people who lived and wielded in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated picture from his northern jaunt taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner eating his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this illustration, steering the characters and formatting the set, does this detract from the dominance of the epitome? Brandts northern wreak never did him money and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these illustrations was an unprecedented grouped together of styles to create a striking and vivid image of Britain never 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 brand-new publication that photographed all other aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly publication filled with photograph on every page, the fact-finding mission statement to make a visual chronicle of British parties at home, at work and at play-act.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his trademark moan is on the line in his victory constitute, limbs spread wide-eyed and his competitors blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic contestants for a long time, but certainly the people who are achieving prodigious acts against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to parties with disabilities, I used to feel unsure about the etiquette, but the most difficult situation that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special period and it altered publics attitudes for ever. Weir retained names. He won the marathon. He won four golds in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a little bit bleak. But that summer we indicated 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, reminds me of a year in which I felt very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful duration, and, for me, this image gives so much dominance, strength, resolution 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 roadblock they have made near Aldgate. The police are billing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photograph: Patrimony Portrait/ 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 gallant men, women and children gathered to oppose autocracy in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys tyrants were forcing them a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the strength of people and communities coming together. A organization was form of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to accept autocracy and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it was indicated that fascism could be refused through parishes unifying something that should continue to inspire us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another alignment of politicians, the Jewish parish , trades union, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , is not simply to honour and remember the intrepid people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to prolong that crusade. To say: when we envision something that is divisive, go against our British ethics and are just essentially wrong, we must call them out; well never give fascism, intolerance or racism persist. These are significances 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 photo is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a meaning on equal opportunities. There were a loads of signalings at the womens parade in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a partiality within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their hair. Even in the music industry, humankinds have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now girls want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for makes we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This poster has such a powerful letter its unapologetic, its relentles. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be feed!

It appears as if someone has left this sign there at the end of the progress. It is a piece of art it saves on telling a legend even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Moved by Walking, 1967 Image: Richard Long. All Claim Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Acquired By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really dream having this photo in my house and it necessitating different things to me at different moments in “peoples lives”. Its a picture thats so mature. Before you understand what it illustrates, its such a nourishing, simple persona. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long made himself, by strolling up and down, up and down theres something so symbolic and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the creator can be seen in the image. Long has entered his own pressing on countries around the world and the room he occupies his smothers with this photograph. That routine of making art is beautiful to me; it always shapes me incredibly happy.

I first saw this image when I was a photographers aide in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to reproduce Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a face, where the charcoal hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you are able to know the girl depicted. Its that kind of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an artist happens in their prowes, I find it fantastically heavy-handed its so obvious, 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 Meter applied this photo following the end of Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though take place within 2015 was on the front deal of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the pellet would invent calmly back to pitch-black. Instead, the economic austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the cherry-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on crimson. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian brain of the Tory party satisfied they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those inexpensive impostors, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, thrilling to an outcome that would work in the service of their personal ambition.

That repelling darknes, as the roulette wheel slackened, the counting was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant posh boys out of touch with the miseries their policies had run. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron renounced. I presume he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to oblige millions.

But he hadnt lost his fund, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little people. The beings his government had been gambling with all along. Abruptly there was a chance for the little parties to revolve the rotate. No one told them that once again they could only lose.

The final chapter 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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