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How I see Britain: photograph that define the country

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been plotting the history 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 astonishing miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee reveals striking 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 conflicts in recent British civil record, 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 jester with police officer on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one mortal, 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 recollection, but it seems increasingly relevant to the fractions 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 divisions of Brexit they place 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 communicates the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property 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 triumphed gold medals for Britain and wrapped themselves in the British flag, these young men and women began to identify with the country that was their alone home.

Of course, this was the opening up of a bittersweet date for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus statutes, miscarrying colleges and the emerging discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and transmit a character of hope and possibility. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to acquire 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 plant, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I loved these cooling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were bulldozed in July 2014] they were concepts of real beautiful. Whenever I passed on the civilize, I would put down my journal to experience them. They had great sweeping curves and in all conditions changed a different look to the world. We continue windmills and steam civilizes, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the deaths among houses: industrial ones signal the be removed from one period to new technologies to another. Their termination recognizes the passing of age, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The moment when they fall to the floor commemorates a moment in history extended for ever. No wonder beings gaze in astonishment when that happens.

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

VE festivities, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captivates the exhilaration of one of the most important point moments of the 20 th century the victory over dictatorship in 1945. It likewise symbolises the huge steps built for gender equality in the second world war. Maidens penetrated previously all-male professions: without their campaign struggle, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples crusade, where our citizens pictured courage and sacrifice beyond our modern imageries. It had confirmed that government intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen disgraceful. The common good came firstly. Beings of all years, races and societies joined to defend Britain against the Nazis. We welcomed 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 alliance we need today: it united progressives, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it established progressive policies popular and triumphed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal in the second world war. The people demanded, and later achieved, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They prevailed social justice in 1945. Why cant we triumph it now?

British politician Nigel Farage fulfills 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, author

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-new age of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their nightmares. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman goes nothing but the lamentable happiness 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 crushed, their wages lowered, humbled by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous males posing outside a gold elevation. And the strong one has a crew scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to farther penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the preeminence of the 1 %. This representation represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown sovereigns and their hapless marionettes, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, tyrannical politics in a hi-tech world-wide.

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 combination modes from art and photojournalism. As a immigrant, he created a disinterested, interlopers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political part, but his situations have become the defining portraits of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to drawing his highly stylised approach to photograph sturdy descriptions of the people who lived and toiled in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated photo from his northern travel 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 specific characteristics and setting the primed, does this detract from the dominance of the portrait? Brandts northern handiwork never formed him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these portraits was an extraordinary grouped together of styles to create a stark and colors perception of Britain ever seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the borders 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 all other aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly publication fitted with picture on every page, its mission word to make a visual account of British parties at home, at work and at performance.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his logo moan is on the way in his win pose, arms spread wide and his opponents blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic athletes for a long time, but actually the people who are achieving incredible situations against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to parties with physical disabilities, I used to feel uncertain about the decorum, but the most difficult occasion that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special time and it altered publics perspectives for ever. Weir held names. He won the marathon. He acquired four golds in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a bit bleak. But that summertime 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 detected so lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful meter, and, for me, this image imparts so much better ability, strength, decide all that is the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist bunch, some of them carrying rockets, run from a barricade the government had made near Aldgate. The police are billing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Picture: Patrimony Likeness/ 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 fearless humankinds, women and children gathered to oppose dictatorship in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

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

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

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another organization of legislators, the Jewish parish , labor union, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the fearles people who fought against dictatorship in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to prolong that campaign. To say: when we picture something that is divisive, go against our British significances and are just profoundly incorrect, we must call them out; well never make dictatorship, racism or prejudice predominate. These are qualities 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, singer

Whats so cool about this word-painting is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a meaning on equal opportunities. There were a loads of signals at the womens march in London its become really popular to get inventive with them.

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

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

A Line Realized by Walking, 1967 Photograph: Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Built By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually dream having this photo in my house and it meaning different things to me at different moments in “peoples lives”. Its a depict thats so grown-up. Before you understand what it images, its such a nourish, simple-minded epitome. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long composed himself, by walking 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 epitome. Long has entered his own push on the planet and the course he colonizes his surrounds with this photograph. That routine of making art is beautiful to me; it ever realise me unbelievably happy.

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

Sometimes, when an creator occurs in their prowes, I find it fantastically heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design magazine. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The being behind the persona ever 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 Times exploited this photo immediately after Brexit. Picture: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though take place within 2015 was on the front envelop of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambler, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the dance would rotate softly back to black. Instead, the financial 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, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That repelling darknes, as the roulette wheel slowed, the count was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant luxurious boys out of touch with the miseries its own policy had functioned. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron abdicated. I suppose he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to realise millions.

But he hadnt lost his money, or his home, or his future. He saved that for the little people. The beings his government had been gambling with all along. Unexpectedly there was a chance for the little people to rotate the pedal. No one told them that once again they could only forget.

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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