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How I encounter Britain: picture that define the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been mapping 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 displays striking miner( Striking? Hes utterly spectacular !) 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 record, 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 person, 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 storage, but it seems increasingly relevant to the separations 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 departments of Brexit they moment 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 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 were part of the Windrush generation, so this photo has a particular keennes for me. Long before Linford Christie or Jessica Ennis acquired 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 beginning of a bittersweet period for ethnic minorities in Britain: Enoch Powell, hostile police sus laws, flunking colleges and the rising discord of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But it also captures the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and show a intent of hope and opportunity. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to prepare 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 cherished these refrigerating towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were demolished in July 2014] the latter are happenings of real allure. Whenever I passed on the improve, I would put down my book to experience them. They had enormous sweeping curves and in all conditions 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 be removed from one era of technology to another. Their demolition differentiates the happen of day, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The minute when they fall to the floor commemorates a moment in biography proceeded for ever. No wonder beings gaze in amazement 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. Picture: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE celebrations, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captivates the glee of one of the most important times of the 20 th century the victory over autocracy in 1945. It also symbolises the enormous paces become for gender equality during the second world war. Maidens registered previously all-male occupations: without their conflict endeavor, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its good. It was the peoples of the territories campaign, where ordinary citizens depicted gallantry and relinquish beyond our modern resources. It proved that commonwealth intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen humiliating. The common good came firstly. Parties of all categories, hastens and commonwealths united 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 joined progressives, liberals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it made progressive plans favourite and prevailed wartime byelections.

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

British politician Nigel Farage matches 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 new era 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 gets nothing but the sad comfort of playing court fool to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably facilitated bring about. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK wastelands, their unions crushed, their wages lowered, subdued by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two wealthy servicemen 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 domination of the 1 %. This drawing represents the official coronation of the new toytown lords and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, despotic politics in a hi-tech macrocosm.

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 blend forms from art and photojournalism. As a native, he delivered a dispassionate, outsiders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political level, but his illustrations have become the defining epitomes of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to making his highly stylised approach to photograph steadfast paintings of the people who lived and operated in these industrial communities like this shot Brandts most celebrated picture from his northern journey 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 painting, aiming the characters and organizing the placed, does this detract from the dominance of the persona? Brandts northern piece never realized him money and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these slides was an unprecedented grouped together of modes to create a striking and colors perception of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the boundaries 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 brand-new publication that photographed every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was propelled, a weekly periodical fitted with photo on every sheet, the fact-finding mission statement to make a visual enter of British parties at home, at work and at performance.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark howl is on the line in his succes pose, arms spread wide-ranging and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic jocks for a long time, but certainly the people who are achieving marvelous acts 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 etiquette, but the most difficult happening that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed stances in general. It was a really special season and it shifted peoples positions for ever. Weir retained titles. He won the marathon. He won four golds in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a little bit pessimistic. But that summer we proved 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, reminds me of a year in which I felt very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful age, and, for me, this image transmits so much better strength, fortitude, decide all that is the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist mob, 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. Photograph: Heritage Images/ 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 courageous humankinds, women and children gathered to oppose autocracy in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys totalitarians were forcing them a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the capability 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 accept autocracy and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a succes that had lasting repercussions because it goes to show that autocracy is likely to be balk through communities joining something that should continue to stimulate us.

Last October, the 80 th anniversary of Cable Street, I was proud to join another coalition of legislators, the Jewish community, trade unions, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and recollect the fearles people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to continue that crusade. To say: where reference is look things that are divisive, go against our British evaluates and are just essentially wrong, we must call them out; well never make dictatorship, intolerance or racism persist. These are qualities 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, singer

Whats so cool about this photo is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a meaning on equal opportunities. There were a loads of clues at the womens march in London its become really popular to get inventive with them.

There has been a tendency within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their “hairs-breadth”. Even in the music industry, husbands have tried to quieten me down and package me differently. Now girls want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for effects we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This posting has such a strong content its unapologetic, its relentles. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to said shut up theyd be eaten!

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

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

A Line Seen By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually suspect having this photo in my home and it signifying different things to me at different minutes in “peoples lives”. Its a depict thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it depicts, its such a nourish, simple-minded epitome. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long composed himself, by moving 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 portrait. Long has recorded his own pressing on countries around the world and the practice he occupies his surroundings with this photograph. That act of making art is beautiful to me; it always shapes me unbelievably happy.

I firstly saw this image when I was a photographers assistant in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to publication 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 yet you feel as if you might know the girl imaged. Its that kind of delicacy and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an artist happens in their artistry, I find it improbably heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design magazine. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party behind the persona 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 heads of state and governments summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Experience utilized this photograph immediately after Brexit. Photograph: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, columnist

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front treat of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambler, potting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the projectile would rotate softly back to black. Instead, the financial austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the ruby-red made certain that the gamble itself would end on cherry-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 inexpensive forgeries, Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the service of their personal ambition.

That nauseating darknes, as the roulette wheel braked, the count was in, and the UK was out of Europe. Cameron and George Osborne never believed it could happen. Arrogant luxury boys out of touch with the miseries their policies had exercised. No plan for what would happen next. Cameron resigned. I guess he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to draw millions.

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

The final occurrence 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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