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How I attend Britain: photograph that specifies the country

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 astonishing miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee displays striking miner( Impressing? Hes perfectly splendid !) 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 most violent crashes in recent British civil history, 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 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 memory, but it seems increasingly relevant to the departments of contemporary Britain. Orgreave recognized a important turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners strike, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the separations of Brexit they point 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 imparts the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our shorings on the Windrush in 1948. My mothers were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular poignancy for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis prevailed gold medals for Britain and wrap themselves in the British pennant, these young men and women began to identify with the two countries that was their only home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet date for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, hostile police sus rules, flunking colleges and the emerging quarrel of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captivates the birth of multicultural Britain and impart a being of hope and possibility. 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 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 demolished in July 2014] they were situations of real grace. Whenever I passed on the civilize, I would put down my work to enjoy them. They had great sweeping curves and in all weathers turned a different face to the world. We perpetuate windmills and steam improves, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of buildings: industrial ones signal the be removed from one era to new technologies to another. Their destruction observes the move of season, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The instant when they fall to the floor ratings a moment in record started for ever. No amaze people gaze in shock 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 revels in London. Photo: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE galas, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the glee of one of the main times of the 20 th century the succes over fascism in 1945. It too symbolises the huge paces stirred of equality between men and women during the second world war. Girls entered previously all-male professions: without their conflict attempt, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its excellent. It was the peoples of the territories battle, where “citizens ” established fortitude and relinquish beyond our modern imaginations. It have also shown that nation intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were deemed atrocious. The common good came firstly. Parties of all years, races and commonwealths 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 defendant was the equivalent of the anti-Tory alliance we need today: it united socialists, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it drew revolutionary policies favourite and prevailed wartime byelections.

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

British politician Nigel Farage assembles 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 new epoch of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their fantasies. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman get nothing but the pathetic happiness of playing courtroom jester 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 barrens, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, humbled by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two wealthy husbands posing outside a gold promote. And the strong one has a crew scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the reign of the 1 %. This scene represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown lords and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, tyrannical politics in a hi-tech world-wide.

Miner at his evening banquet, 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 combine styles from arts and photojournalism. As a stranger, he brought a impartial, interlopers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political stage, but his images have become the defining personas of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to raising his highly stylised approaching to photograph sturdy likeness of the people who lived and made in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated image from his northern expedition take place within 1937, of a Northumbrian miner gobbling his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this word-painting, guiding the characters and arranging the prepare, does this detract from the superpower of the image? Brandts northern toil never constituted him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these word-paintings was an extraordinary coming together of modes to create a striking and evocative eyesight of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the border of his art and he is rightly considered one of the most important photographers to have worked in Britain. He would also go on to work on a groundbreaking new publication that photographed all aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly magazine filled with image on every page, the fact-finding mission evidence to make a visual register of British beings 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 trademark roar is on the racetrack in his victory constitute, limbs spread wide-ranging and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic players for a very long time, but truly the people who are achieving breathtaking happenings against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to people with disabilities, I used to feel ambiguous about the decorum, but the biggest event that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed stances in general. It was a really special experience and it altered families views for ever. Weir retained deeds. He won the marathon. He acquired four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a bit bleak. But that summer we evidenced 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 participants of a year in which I felt very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful age, and, for me, this image imparts so much ability, persuasivenes, resolve 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 rockets, run from a roadblock they have erected near Aldgate. The police are charging on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photo: Heritage Images/ 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 intrepid servicemen, 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 humiliating retreat something achieved only through the dominance of people and communities coming together. A coalition was constitute of Jewish East Enders, Irish dockworkers, trade unionists, Labour party members and many more coming together in solidarity to rebuff dictatorship and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a succes that had lasting repercussions because it goes to show that dictatorship is likely to be withstood through communities 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 parish , trade union organizations, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , is not merely to honour and remember the intrepid people who fought against dictatorship in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to resume that fight. To say: when we realize circumstances that are contentious, go against our British ethics and are just basically wrong, we must call them out; well never let autocracy, intolerance or racism dominate. These are appreciates that ring true in London, more than anywhere in countries around 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 illustration is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a message on gender equality. There were a consignments of signals at the womens rally in London its become really popular to get inventive with them.

There has been a predisposition within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their mane. Even in the music industry, guys have tried to quieten me down and box me differently. Now dames want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for generates we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This poster has such a strong word its unapologetic, its fierce. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut the fuck up theyd be dined!

It looks as if someone has left this posting there at the end of the parade. 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 Established by Walking, 1967 Photograph: Richard Long. All Privilege Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Acquired By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really imagine having this photograph in my house and it making different things to me at different times in “peoples lives”. Its a slide thats so mature. Before you understand what it depicts, its such a nurture, simple-minded likenes. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long made himself, by strolling up and down, up and down theres something so figurative and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the master can be seen in the portrait. Long has registered his own pressure on countries around the world and the channel he colonizes his surrounds with this photograph. That play of making art is beautiful to me; it ever clears me improbably 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-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 happens in their prowes, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party behind the image ever interests me as far as is 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 the heads of state and government and governments meridian at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Experience used this photo following the end of Brexit. Picture: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front blanket of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the ball would invent softly back to black. Instead, the financial austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the blood-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on blood-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian mentality of the Tory party satisfied they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those cheap scams, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, thrilling to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That sickening night, as the roulette wheel slowed, the counting 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 functioned. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron quitted. I presume he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to become millions.

But he hadnt “losing ones” coin, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little people. The people his government had been gambling with all along. Suddenly there was a chance for the little beings to rotate the wheel. 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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