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How I realise 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 shots that sum up Britishness for them

A striking miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee reveals impressing miner( Impressing? Hes utterly dazzling !) 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 comic 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 remembering, but it seems increasingly relevant to the divides of contemporary Britain. Orgreave celebrated 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 disagreements of Brexit they place 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 landed on our beaches on the Windrush in 1948. My parents was already in 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 wrap themselves in the British flag, 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 age for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus principles, failing colleges and the rising animosity of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captivates birth certificates of multicultural Britain and convey a being of hope and opportunity. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to form 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 chilling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were dismantled in July 2014] the latter are things of real beauty. Whenever I passed on the teach, 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 preserve windmills and steam develops, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of buildings: industrial ones signal the move from one age to new technologies to another. Their demolition differentiates the passing of hour, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The minute when they fall to the ground markings a moment in history extended for ever. No amazement parties gaze in astonishment when that happens.

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

VE occasions, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the delight of one of the most important minutes of the 20 th century the succes over fascism in 1945. It likewise symbolises the huge strides built for gender equality in the second world war. Females participated previously all-male occupations: without their struggle endeavor, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples battle, where ordinary citizens indicated gallantry and relinquish beyond our modern curiosities. It proved that government intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were regarded reprehensible. The common good came first. Parties of all categories, races and commonwealths joined to protect Britain against the Nazis. We welcomed 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 partnership we need today: it united socialists, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it became radical programmes popular and won wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal in the second world war. The parties expected, 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 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, columnist

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 dreamings. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman get nothing but the pathetic comfort of playing tribunal fool to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped bring about. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, crushed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two wealthy males posing outside a golden face-lift. And the potent one has a crew scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the dominance of the 1 %. This visualize represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown emperors and their hapless marionettes, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, authoritarian politics in a hi-tech nature.

Miner at his evening banquet, 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 combining modes from art and photojournalism. As a immigrant, he brought a impartial, strangers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political detail, but his photos have become the defining portraits of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to bring his highly stylised approaching to photograph steadfast photographs of the people who lived and wielded in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated photograph from his northern expedition take place within 1937, of a Northumbrian miner eating his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully posed this photo, sending the characters and ordering the place, does this detract from the superpower of the likenes? Brandts northern operate never built him coin and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these images was an unprecedented coming together of styles to create a stark and colors perception of Britain ever 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 launched, a weekly periodical filled with image on every sheet, the fact-finding mission word to make a visual evidence of British people at home, at work and at performance.

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 logo moan is on the line in his succes pose, arms spread broad and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic athletes for a long time, but truly the people who are achieving prodigious happens against the odds are our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to people with disabilities, I used to feel doubtful about the etiquette, but the biggest circumstance that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special occasion and it altered folks positions for ever. Weir retained titles. He won the marathon. He won four goldens in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. But that summer we established 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, reminds me of a year in which I felt very lucky to live in the capital city. It was a wonderful occasion, and, for me, this image communicates so much supremacy, forte, tenacity 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 obstruction they have made near Aldgate. The police are billing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photo: Heritage 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 brave and heroic men, women and children gathered to oppose fascism in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys totalitarians were forced into a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the influence of people and communities coming together. A alliance was make 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 succes that had lasting repercussions because it showed that dictatorship is likely to be repelled through parishes coalescing something that should continue to stimulate us.

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another coalition of politicians, the Jewish community , trade union organizations, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the gallant people who fought against autocracy in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to continue that oppose. To say: where reference is envision occasions the hell is contentious, go against our British costs and are just fundamentally wrong, we must call them out; well never give fascism, racism or prejudice dominate. These are prices 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 representation is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a message on gender equality. There were a loads of signeds at the womens march in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a tendency within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their mane. Even in the music manufacture, husbands have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now females want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for justification we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This placard has such a potent word its unapologetic, its relentles. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut up theyd be ingested!

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

A Line Stirred by Walking, 1967 Picture: Richard Long. All Privilege Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Induced By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really dream having this photograph in my home and it representing different things to me at different moments in my life. Its a picture thats so grown-up. Before you understand what it illustrates, its such a nurture, simple-minded image. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long developed himself, by walking up and down, up and down theres something so metaphorical and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the artist can be seen in the persona. Long has entered his own push on countries around the world and the course he colonizes his borders with this photograph. That behave of making art is beautiful to me; it ever draws me incredibly happy.

I firstly 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 photograph Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a face, where the charcoal-grey hasnt been lifted from the working papers 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 publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party behind the epitome always 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 heads of state and governments peak at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Times expended this photograph following the end of Brexit. Picture: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front envelop of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the pellet would invent calmly back to black. Instead, the economic austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the blood-red made certain that the play itself would end on red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian brain of the Tory party satisfied they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those inexpensive frauds, 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 slackened, the weigh was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant posh sons out of contact with the miseries their policies had worked. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron vacated. I believe he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to induce millions.

But he hadnt lost his money, or his house, or his future. He saved that for the little people. The people his government had been gambling with all along. Unexpectedly there was a chance for the little parties to spin the rotate. 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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