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How I attend Britain: photographs that specifies the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been plotting 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 sees striking miner( Impressing? Hes absolutely splendid !) George Geordie Brealey( right) and policeman Paul Castle( far left) at Orgreave on 18 June 1984. What followed, known as the Battle of Orgreave, are members of the most violent 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 comic with police officer on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one human, 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 recall, but it seems increasingly relevant to the divisions of contemporary Britain. Orgreave observed a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners strike, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the schisms of Brexit they moment back to a moment like this.

The Boy With the Flag, 1970 Photograph: Vanley Burke

The Boy With the Flag, 1970

David Lammy, Labour MP

Vanley Burkes image imparts the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our beaches 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 span for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, hostile police sus statutes, flunking schools and the emerging quarrel of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures the birth of multicultural Britain and impart a feel of hope and opportunity. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to constitute 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 station, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I loved these chilling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were bulldozed in July 2014] the latter are happens of real glamour. Whenever I passed on the civilize, I would put down my volume to enjoy them. They had great sweeping curves and in all climates made a different look to the world. We retain windmills and steam studies, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of builds: industrial ones signal the move from one age of technology to another. Their eradication labels the transfer of age, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The moment when they fall to the soil labels a moment in history extended for ever. No speculate parties 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 galas in London. Picture: 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 succes over autocracy in 1945. It too symbolises the huge steps seen for gender equality in the second world war. Maidens participated previously all-male positions: without their conflict attempt, 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 showed spirit and relinquish beyond our modern imageries. It proved that territory involvement and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were deemed disgraceful. The common good succeeded firstly. People of all first-class, races and societies joined to protect Britain against the Nazis. We accepted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The need for a fairer, more equal civilization was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth defendant was the equivalent of the anti-Tory confederation we need today: it joined progressives, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it realise progressive plans popular and won wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass entreaty in the second world war. The beings necessitated, and later achieved, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They triumphed social justice in 1945. Why cant we triumph it is currently?

British politician Nigel Farage satisfies 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 nightmares. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman get nothing but the heartbreaking comfort of playing courtroom fool to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped bring about. The dispirited and overcome former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK wastelands, their unions crushed, their wages lowered, crushed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two affluent humanities posing outside a gold raising. 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 illustration represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown emperors and their hapless marionettes, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, despotic politics in a hi-tech nature.

Miner at his evening banquet, 1937. Photo: 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 combine modes from art and photojournalism. As a immigrant, he produced a impartial, strangers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political spot, but his depicts have become the defining epitomes of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to creating his highly stylised approach to photograph implacable photographs of the people who lived and wreaked in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated photograph from his northern passage 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 scene, directing the characters and arranging the list, does this detract from the ability of the portrait? Brandts northern project never attained him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these scenes was an unprecedented coming together of modes to create a stark and colors perception of Britain never 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 new publication that photographed all other aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly publication fitted with image on every sheet, the fact-finding mission testimony to make a visual chronicle of British parties at home, at work and at participate.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark howl is on the track in his win constitute, forearms spread wide and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic jocks for a very long time, but actually the people who are achieving prodigious concepts against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to people with disabilities, I used to feel unsure about the etiquette, but the most difficult happening that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special time and it changed people views for ever. Weir held titles. 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 proved 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, reminded us of a year in which I find very lucky to live in the capital city. It was a wonderful epoch, and, for me, this image transmits so much influence, strength, finding 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 weapons, run from a roadblock the government had made near Aldgate. The police are accusing 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 millions of courageous and fearless gentlemen, 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 strength of people and communities coming together. A bloc was make of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to repudiate dictatorship and everything associated with it.

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

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another alliance of politicians, the Jewish community, trade union activities, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , is not simply to honour and recollect the fearles people who fought against autocracy in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to persist that push. To suggest: when we insure acts the hell is divisive, go against our British importances and are just profoundly wrong, we must call them out; well never make fascism, intolerance or racism prevail. These are ethics 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 drawing is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a meaning on gender equality. There were a loads of clues at the status of women rally in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a bia within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their fuzz. Even in the music industry, servicemen have tried to quieten me down and package me differently. Now women want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for reasons we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This placard has such a strong theme its unapologetic, its raging. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be snacked!

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

A Line Moved by Walking, 1967 Photo: Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Built By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really dream having this photograph in my house and it necessitating different things to me at different times in my life. Its a photo thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it illustrates, its such a nourish, simple-minded epitome. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long made himself, by sauntering 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 epitome. Long has preserved his own influence on countries around the world and the channel he inhabits his encloses with this photograph. That routine of making art is beautiful to me; it always realise 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 magazine Richards work. For me, this image is just a Matisse drawing of a appearance, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you are able to know the girl illustrated. Its that kind of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an master intervenes in their artwork, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The being 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 Times exploited this photo immediately after Brexit. Photo: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, columnist

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

That nauseating night, as the roulette wheel retarded, the weigh was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant ritzy boys out of contact with the miseries its own policy had made. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron quitted. I belief he thought that was noble. He should have been was necessary to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to form millions.

But he hadnt lost his coin, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little parties. The people his government had been gambling with all along. Suddenly there was a chance for the little people to invent the pedal. 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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