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How I verify Britain: photograph that specifies the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been charting 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 striking miner( Striking? Hes absolutely sumptuous !) 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 clashes in recent British civil biography, as 6,000 police officer 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 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 recall, but it seems increasingly relevant to the divides of contemporary Britain. Orgreave celebrated a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners impres, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the schisms of Brexit they object 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 transmits the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had territory 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 won gold medals for Britain and wrap themselves in the British flag, these young men and women began to identify with the two countries that was their alone home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet period for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, unfriendly police sus principles, flunking schools and the developing strife of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captivates the birth of multicultural Britain and show a flavour of hope and opportunity. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to represent 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 station, Oxfordshire, UK, 27 July 2014. Photograph: ajsissues/ Alamy Stock Photo

Joan Bakewell, broadcaster

I enjoyed these chilling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were dismantled in July 2014] the latter are things of real elegance. Whenever I passed on the improve, I would put down my notebook to experience them. They had great sweeping curves and in all climates turned a different face to the world. We perpetuate windmills and steam sets, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of constructs: industrial ones signal the move from one age of technology to another. Their ruin differentiates the run of meter, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The instant when they fall to the ground brands a moment in biography extended for ever. No wonder 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 festivities in London. Photo: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE revels, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the exhilaration of one of the most important times of the 20 th century the succes over autocracy in 1945. It also symbolises the huge paces prepared for gender equality in the second world war. Women recruited previously all-male occupancies: without their battle endeavour, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its better. It was the peoples crusade, where ordinary citizens pictured fearlessnes and sacrifice beyond our modern imageries. It have also shown that state intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were deemed atrocious. The common good came first. People of all categorizes, races and people united 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 confederation we need today: it united progressives, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it constructed progressive plans favourite and triumphed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal during the second world war. The beings challenged, 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 acquire it is currently?

British politician Nigel Farage converges 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, generator

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-new period of politics: an American millionaires tax-dodging son and an English investment banker celebrate the realisation of their daydreams. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman goes nothing but the heartbreaking happiness of playing court jester 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 smashed, their wages lowered, vanquished by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous mortals posing outside a gold face-lift. And the potent one has a team scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to farther penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the predominance of the 1 %. This visualize represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown sovereigns and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, dictatorial politics in a hi-tech world.

Miner at his evening meal, 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 integrate modes from arts and photojournalism. As a immigrant, he accompanied a impartial, outsiders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political level, but his portraits have become the defining epitomes of the Great Depression.

Brandt likewise wanted to making his highly stylised approaching to photograph implacable descriptions of the people who lived and labor in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated photo from his northern jaunt taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner ingesting his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully posed this representation, directing the characters and formatting the give, does this detract from the power of the persona? Brandts northern cultivate never obliged him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these visualizes was an extraordinary grouped together of forms to create a striking and evocative perception of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the areas 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 the aspects of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly publication filled with picture on every sheet, its mission evidence to make a visual record of British people at home, at work and at participate.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his logo wail is on the line in his victory pose, limbs spread wide-ranging and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic contestants for a long time, but really the people who are achieving extraordinary things against the report is 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 most difficult act that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed positions in general. It was a really special season and it changed families attitudes for ever. Weir retained entitlements. He won the marathon. He won four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a reputation for being a bit negative, a bit bleak. 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. It was a wonderful hour, and, for me, this image communicates so much superpower, persuasivenes, finding everything that the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist army, some of them carrying missiles, run from a barricade they have erected near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photo: 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 brave and heroic soldiers, women and children gathered to oppose autocracy in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys tyrants were forced into a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the supremacy 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 spurn fascism and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it goes to show that dictatorship is likely to be balk through parishes combining something that should continue to invigorate us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another organization of legislators, the Jewish community, trade union organizations, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and recollect the defy people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to continue that fighting. To say: where reference is identify things that are contentious, go against our British appreciates and are just fundamentally incorrect, we must call them out; well never give autocracy, intolerance or racism reign. These are appreciates that ring true in London, more than anywhere in 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 illustration is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a message on gender equality. There were a quantities of signeds at the womens march in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a partiality within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their mane. Even in the music manufacture, gentlemen have tried to quieten me down and package me differently. Now ladies 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 poster has such a strong content its unapologetic, its ferociou. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to said shut up theyd be devoured!

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

A Line Become by Walking, 1967 Photograph: Richard Long. All Privilege Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Realise By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually suppose having this photograph in my home and it intending different things to me at different moments in “peoples lives”. Its a word-painting thats so mature. Before you understand what it outlines, its such a nourishing, simple-minded likenes. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long formed 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 recorded his own pressure on the planet and the acces he colonizes his circumvents with this photograph. That routine of making art is beautiful to me; it always becomes me fantastically 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 magazine 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 are able to know the girl imaged. Its that kind of elegance and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an creator intervenes in their skill, I find it incredibly heavy-handed its so obvious, like an interior design periodical. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The being behind the image always interests me as far as is 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 the heads of government summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Time use this photo immediately after Brexit. Image: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, columnist

This photograph though take place within 2015 was on the front cros of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the ball would invent quietly back to pitch-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 cherry-red. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian mentality of the Tory party charmed they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those inexpensive scams, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, stimulating 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 classy sons out of contact with the miseries its own policy had exercised. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron resigned. I suppose he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to acquire millions.

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