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How I construe Britain: photograph that define the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been charting 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 substantiates striking miner( Striking? Hes utterly gorgeous !) 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 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 clowning with police officer 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 remember, but it seems increasingly relevant to the discords of contemporary Britain. Orgreave differentiated a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners impres, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the discords of Brexit they part back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Picture: Vanley Burke

The Boy With the Flag, 1970

David Lammy, Labour MP

Vanley Burkes image conveys the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our shorings on the Windrush in 1948. My parents was already in the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular keennes for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis triumphed 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 opening up of a bittersweet date for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus constitutions, flunking schools and the emerging discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captivates the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and show a being of hope and opening. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to become 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 happens of real glamour. Whenever I passed on the train, I would put down my volume to experience them. They had great sweeping curves and in all conditions grew a different appearance to the world. We preserve windmills and steam sets, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of builds: industrial ones signal the be removed from one period of technology to another. Their devastation tags the passing of duration, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The instant when they fall to the field recognizes a moment in history moved for ever. No think beings gaze in feeling when that happens.

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

VE celebrations, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the exhilaration of one of the most important point minutes of the 20 th century the victory over fascism in 1945. It likewise symbolises the huge paces obligated for equal opportunities in the second largest world war. Women entered previously all-male positions: without their struggle effort, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its good. It was the peoples struggle, where our citizens presented firmnes and sacrifice beyond our modern curiosities. It had confirmed that nation intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen disgraceful. The common good came firstly. Beings of all grades, hastens and people united to defend Britain against the Nazis. We greeted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The need for a fairer, more equal civilization was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory alliance we need today: it joined progressives, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it obligated radical programs popular and acquired wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass entreaty in the second largest world war. The people required, and later reached, public ownership of major industries and the creation 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, scribe

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-new era 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 gets nothing but the happy contentment of playing courtroom jester to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably facilitated bring about. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, vanquished by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous soldiers posing outside a golden lift. And the powerful one has a team scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to farther penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the ascendancy of the 1 %. This slide represents the official coronation of the new toytown sovereigns and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, autocratic politics in a hi-tech nature.

Miner at his evening meal, 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 compound styles from art and photojournalism. As a stranger, he returned a disinterested, strangers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political object, but his slides have become the defining portraits of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to returning his highly stylised approaching to photograph steadfast descriptions of the people who lived and laboured in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated picture from his northern expedition taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner devouring his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this drawing, directing the characters and formatting the start, does this detract from the supremacy of the likenes? Brandts northern occupation never induced him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these pictures was an extraordinary coming together of styles to create a striking and colors imagination of Britain ever seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the boundaries of his art and he is rightly considered one of the most important point photographers to have worked in Britain. He would also go on to work on a groundbreaking brand-new publication that photographed every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly publication filled with photo on every sheet, the fact-finding mission account to make a visual account of British people at home, at work and at play.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his trademark moan is on the way in his victory pose, forearms spread wide-ranging and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic jocks for a very long time, but really the people who are achieving marvelous concepts against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to beings with disabilities, I used to feel unsure about the decorum, but the most difficult circumstance that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed attitudes in general. It was a really special duration and it changed people attitudes for ever. Weir retained entitlements. 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 summertime we demo 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 find very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful day, and, for me, this image communicates so much superpower, persuasivenes, decision all that is the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist audience, some of them carrying weapons, run from a roadblock the government had erected near Aldgate. The police are charging on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photograph: Patrimony Likeness/ 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 fearless boys, women and children gathered to oppose fascism in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

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

This was a historic turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it showed that autocracy could be fought through communities marrying something that should continue to induce us.

Last October, the 80 th anniversary 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 recollect the courageou people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to sustain that crusade. To say: where reference is consider something that is divisive, go against our British importances and are just profoundly incorrect, we must call them out; well never let fascism, racism or prejudice predominate. These are appraises 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 illustration is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a theme on equal opportunities. There were a onus of signals at the womens march in London its become really popular to get artistic with them.

There has been a tendency within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their fuzz. Even in the music industry, people have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now maidens 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 poster has such a potent theme its unapologetic, its fierce. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be gobbled!

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

A Line Realise by Walking, 1967 Photo: Richard Long. All Right Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Stirred By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really thoughts having this photograph in my house and it meaning different things to me at different times in my life. Its a drawing thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it illustrates, its such a nourishing, simple image. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long composed himself, by sauntering up and down, up and down theres something so metaphorical and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the master can be seen in the likenes. Long has registered his own pressure on the planet and the direction he colonizes his surrounds with this photograph. That deed of making art is beautiful to me; it ever sees me unbelievably 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 magazine Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a face, where the charcoal-grey hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you might know the girl illustrated. Its that kind of goody and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an artist occurs in their artwork, I find it fantastically heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The person behind the persona 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 heads of state and governments summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Times use this photo following the end of Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, generator

This photograph though take place within 2015 was on the front clothe of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambler, betting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the ball would revolve calmly back to black. Instead, the economic austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the crimson made certain that the gamble itself would end on ruby-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian mentality of the Tory party enthralled they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those cheap forgeries, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, thrilling to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That nauseating darknes, as the roulette wheel slow-going, the counting was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant classy sons out of touch with the miseries its own policy had exercised. 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 make millions.

But he hadnt lost his coin, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little beings. The people his government had been gambling with all along. Suddenly there was a chance for the little parties to spin the wheel. No one 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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