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How I see Britain: photo that specifies the country

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 stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee reveals striking miner( Impressing? Hes absolutely lush !) George Geordie Brealey( privilege) 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 clanks 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 officers on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one follower, 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 recognition, but it seems increasingly relevant to the schisms of contemporary Britain. Orgreave labelled a turning point in the 1984 -8 5 miners impres, and for labour relations in the UK. Zero-hours contracts, the left-behind, the splits of Brexit they part 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 gives the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our beaches on the Windrush in 1948. My mothers 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 only home.

Of course, this was the beginning of a bittersweet interval 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 it also captivates the proposed establishment of multicultural Britain and give a flavor of hope and possibility. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to form 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 affection these cooling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were demolished in July 2014] they were situations of real attractivenes. Whenever I passed on the develop, I would put down my volume to enjoy them. They had great sweeping curves and in all conditions turned a different face to the world. We retain windmills and steam qualifies, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of builds: industrial ones signal the move from one period of technology to another. Their termination tags the guide of occasion, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant hitherto imagine. The instant when they fall to the dirt marks a moment in record extended for ever. No wonder parties 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 occasions in London. Photo: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE occasions, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captivates the euphorium of one of the most important instants of the 20 th century the succes over dictatorship in 1945. It also symbolises the huge paces stirred for gender equality in the second world war. Girls registered previously all-male occupancies: without their conflict endeavor, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples of the territories conflict, where our citizens demo firmnes and sacrifice beyond our modern imaginations. It proved that regime involvement and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were deemed shameful. The common good came first. People of all years, races and nations 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 party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory partnership we need today: it joined socialists, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it moved progressive programs favourite and acquired wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal in the second world war. The people required, 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 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, writer

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 nightmares. The American gets to run the world. The Englishman goes nothing but the happy pride 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, mashed by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two affluent males posing outside a gold lift. 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 ascendancy of the 1 %. This photo represents the official coronation of the new toytown emperors and their hapless dolls, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, tyrannical politics in a hi-tech macrocosm.

Miner at his evening meal, 1937. Photo: 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 mix forms from arts and photojournalism. As a foreigner, he wreaked a impartial, intruders perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political quality, but his illustrations have become the defining likeness of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to fetching his highly stylised approach to photograph uncompromising descriptions of the people who lived and wielded in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated image from his northern journeying take place within 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 situation, guiding the characters and setting the initiate, does this detract from the superpower of the likenes? Brandts northern design never obliged him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these word-paintings was an unprecedented grouped together of modes to create a stark 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 every aspect of British life. On 1 October 1938, the Picture Post was launched, a weekly publication filled with photograph on every page, its mission affirmation to make a visual register of British beings at home, at work and at play.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, singer

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his logo wail is on the track in his succes pose, arms spread wide-eyed and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic athletes for a very long time, but truly the people who are achieving extraordinary thoughts against the report is 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 most difficult occasion that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed outlooks in general. It was a really special occasion and it changed peoples positions for ever. Weir retained claims. He won the marathon. He won four golds in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a bit pessimistic. But that summertime we presented 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 meter, and, for me, this image imparts so much better ability, strength, resolve all that is the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist crowd, some of them carrying weapons, run from a obstruction they have made near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Image: Patrimony 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 brave and intrepid boys, women and children gathered to oppose dictatorship in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys fascists were forcing them a humiliating retreat something achieved only through the capability of people and communities coming together. A alignment 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 important turning point, a victory that had lasting repercussions because it showed that dictatorship could be repelled through parishes merging something that should continue to induce 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 brave people who fought against fascism in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to continue that combat. To say: when we look something that is contentious, go against our British appraises and are just fundamentally incorrect, we must call them out; well never make autocracy, intolerance or prejudice prevail. These are evaluates 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 draw is that you have an iconic British statue alongside a letter on equal opportunities. There were a onus of signeds at the status of women march in London its become really popular to get creative with them.

There has been a bia within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and touch their fuzz. Even in the music industry, followers have tried to quieten me down and pack me differently. Now females want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about coming together to stand up for makes we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This posting has such a potent word its unapologetic, its raging. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to said shut up theyd be ingested!

It ogles as if someone has left this sign there at the end of the parade. It is a piece of art it prevents on telling a legend even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Constituted by Walking, 1967 Photograph: Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Shaped By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually dream having this photo in my house and it symbolizing different things to me at different moments in my life. Its a envision thats so mature. Before you understand what it illustrates, its such a nourish, simple likenes. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long composed 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 portrait. Long has registered his own pressing on countries around the world and the mode he colonizes his surroundings with this photograph. That deed of making art is beautiful to me; it ever obliges 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 periodical Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a face, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the paper and yet you feel as if you might know the girl illustrated. Its that kind of elegance and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an master happens in their art, I find it unbelievably heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party behind the epitome ever 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 Meter used this photograph following the end of Brexit. Photo: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, author

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front plow of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised speculator, betting Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the projectile would spin quietly back to pitch-black. Instead, the economic 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 mentality of the Tory party revelled they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island empire. And those cheap 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 nighttime, as the roulette wheel slackened, the counting 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 theorize he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not hanging in there to attain millions.

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