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How I attend Britain: photographs that define the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been graphing 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 indicates striking miner( Striking? Hes utterly lovely !) 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 clashes in recent British civil biography, as 6,000 the police force 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 officers on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one male, 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 disagreements 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 splits of Brexit they object 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 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 were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular poignancy 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 two countries that was their alone home.

Of course, this was the opening up of a bittersweet age for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, hostile police sus rules, failing schools and the developing discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captivates the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and convey a tone of hope and opening. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to realise 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 adoration these refrigerating towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were swallowed in July 2014] they were acts of real elegance. Whenever I passed on the develop, I would put down my book to experience them. They had enormous sweeping curves and in all weathers returned a different face to the world. We perpetuate windmills and steam teaches, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the deaths among buildings: industrial ones signal the move from one age of technology to another. Their eradication differentiates the lead of day, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The minute when they fall to the floor markers a moment in history run for ever. No amaze beings gaze in marvel when that happens.

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

VE fetes, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captivates the euphorium of one of the most important minutes of the 20 th century the win over dictatorship in 1945. It also symbolises the huge strides acquired for equal opportunities in the second world war. Women registered previously all-male positions: without their battle effort, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples conflict, where our citizens demo spirit and sacrifice beyond our modern imageries. It have confirmed that district involvement and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were regarded atrocious. The common good met first. Parties of all grades, hastens and societies joined to represent Britain against the Nazis. We accepted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to 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 progressives, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it shaped radical plans favourite and triumphed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal in the second world war. The beings demanded, and later attained, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They acquired social justice in 1945. Why cant we win 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, author

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 dreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman gets nothing but the sad enjoyment of playing courtroom jester to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped are carrying out. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK wastelands, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, suppressed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two wealthy servicemen posing outside a golden promote. And the powerful one has a crew scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to farther penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the dominance of the 1 %. This situation represents the official coronation of the new toytown monarches and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, authoritarian politics in a hi-tech world.

Miner at his evening snack, 1937. Picture: 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 integrate modes from arts and photojournalism. As a native, he brought a disinterested, strangers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political point, but his scenes have become the defining images of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to drawing his highly stylised approach to photograph implacable paintings of the people who lived and acted in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated photo from his northern wander taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner snacking his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this photo, aiming the specific characteristics and ordering the mount, does this detract from the dominance of the persona? Brandts northern design never built him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these pictures was an extraordinary grouped together of modes to create a striking and colors eyesight 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 every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly periodical filled with photographs on every sheet, the fact-finding mission explanation to make a visual account of British parties at home, at work and at play.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark moan is on the trail in his victory constitute, arms spread wide and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic contestants for a long time, but genuinely the people who are achieving stupendous events against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to beings with physical disabilities, I used to feel doubtful about the decorum, but the most difficult thought that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special meter and it altered people perspectives for ever. Weir retained designations. He won the marathon. He triumphed four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a reputation for being a bit negative, a bit bleak. But that summertime we pictured 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, reminded us of a year in which I felt very lucky to live in the capital city. It was a wonderful day, and, for me, this image shows so much power, forte, decide everything that 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 missiles, run from a barricade they have 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 courageous and gutsy people, women and children gathered to oppose fascism 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 superpower of people and communities coming together. A coalition was make of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to repudiate autocracy and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a win that had lasting repercussions because it showed that dictatorship “couldve been” withstood through communities unifying something that should continue to invigorate us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another bloc of legislators, the Jewish community, trade unions, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the defy people who fought against dictatorship in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to persist that battle. To answer: where reference is receive things that are divisive, go against our British prices and are just profoundly wrong, we must call them out; well never give dictatorship, racism or racism 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, vocalist

Whats so cool about this video is that you have an iconic British bronze alongside a content on equal opportunities. There were a consignments of signeds at the status of women march in London its become really popular to get artistic with them.

There has been a partiality within history in general for women to be small, to cross their leg and brush their hair. Even in the music industry, beings have tried to quieten me down and box me differently. Now maidens want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for induces we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This placard has such a strong message 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 seems as if someone has left this posting there at the end of the progress. It is a piece of art it hinders on telling a story even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Stirred by Walking, 1967 Image: Richard Long. All Right Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Manufactured By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually thoughts having this photo in my house and it entailing different things to me at different instants in my life. Its a draw thats so matured. Before you understand what it images, its such a nourish, simple likenes. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long established himself, by stepping up and down, up and down theres something so metaphorical and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the creator can be seen in the likenes. Long has registered his own influence on countries around the world and the route he colonizes his encircles with this photograph. That behave of making art is beautiful to me; it always represents me incredibly happy.

I firstly 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 periodical Richards work. For me, this image is just a Matisse drawing of a look, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you might know the girl outlined. Its that kind of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an creator occurs in their prowes, I find it unbelievably heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design magazine. 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 their work. ( 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 Experience utilized this photo immediately after Brexit. Photo: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, generator

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front envelop of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised speculator, betting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the dance would spin quietly back to pitch-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 brain of the Tory party gratified they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those cheap hoaxes, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That nauseating darknes, as the roulette wheel retarded, the count was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant ritzy sons out of touch with the miseries its own policy had run. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron vacated. I theorize he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to stimulate millions.

But he hadnt “losing ones” money, or his home, or his future. He saved that for the little parties. The people his government had been gambling with all along. Abruptly there was a chance for the little people to revolve the wheel. No one told them that once again they could only lose.

The final episode 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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