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How I encounter Britain: photograph that specifies the country

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 shootings that sum up Britishness for them

A stunning miner, Orgreave, 1984

Luke Wright, poet

This rich, beautiful photo by Don McPhee presents striking miner( Impressing? Hes utterly dazzling !) 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 severest strifes in recent British civil record, 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 comedian 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 reminiscence, but it seems increasingly relevant to the departments of contemporary Britain. Orgreave recognized 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 fractions of Brexit they time 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 conveys the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our shorings 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 acquired gold medals for Britain and wrapped themselves in the British pennant, 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 constitutions, failing colleges and the rising quarrel of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures the birth of multicultural Britain and convey a feeling of hope and opening. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to construct 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 adored these chilling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were razed in July 2014] they were happenings of real charm. Whenever I passed on the teach, I would put down my book to enjoy them. They had enormous sweeping curves and in all weathers altered a different face to the world. We continue windmills and steam trains, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the deaths among buildings: industrial ones signal the be removed from one age to new technologies to another. Their devastation observes the move of era, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The instant when they fall to the field markings a moment in history become for ever. No wonder parties gaze in surprise when that happens.

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

VE revelries, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the exultation of one of the most important instants of the 20 th century the victory over fascism in 1945. It likewise symbolises the enormous paces drawn for gender equality in the second world war. Ladies registered previously all-male occupancies: without their crusade effort, we might not have prevailed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples battle, where ordinary citizens evidenced firmnes and relinquish beyond our modern imaginations. It have confirmed that commonwealth intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen atrocious. The common good moved first. Beings of all categories, hastens and nations joined to defend Britain against the Nazis. We accepted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The need for a fairer, more equal civilization was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party 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 induced radical plans popular and acquired wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass request in the second world war. The parties asked, and later attained, public ownership of major industries and the creation of the NHS and social security. They acquired social justice in 1945. Why cant we win it now?

British politician Nigel Farage fills 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 age 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 lamentable happiness of playing court jester to the American, in this new world order he has undeniably helped is carrying out. The dispirited and beaten former aristocrats of labour in the post-industrial American and UK barrens, their unions crushed, their wages lowered, humbled by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two affluent soldiers posing outside a gold elevation. And the powerful one has a squad scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to farther penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the reign of the 1 %. This depict represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown monarches and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, authoritarian politics in a hi-tech world-wide.

Miner at his evening dinner, 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 blend styles from art and photojournalism. As a native, he fetched a impartial, foreigners perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political part, but his portraits have become the defining personas of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to bring his highly stylised approaching to photograph uncompromising likeness of the people who lived and toiled in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated photo from his northern journeying taken in 1937, of a Northumbrian miner snacking his tea, watched over by his wife.

Although for me there is a sense that Brandt has carefully constituted this visualize, targeting the specific characteristics and setting the define, does this detract from the dominance of the image? Brandts northern effort never saw him fund and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these videos was an unprecedented grouped together of forms to create a striking and vivid vision of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the borders 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 propelled, a weekly magazine fitted with photographs on every page, the fact-finding mission account to make a visual register of British people at home, at work and at romp.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark wail is on the track in his succes pose, limbs spread wide-cut and his challengers blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic contestants for a very long time, but actually the people who are achieving marvelous occasions 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 occasion that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed stances in general. It was a really special time and it altered peoples attitudes for ever. Weir held entitlements. He won the marathon. He won four goldens in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a bit bleak. But that summertime we pictured 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 find so lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful age, and, for me, this image gives so much better strength, forte, resolution 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 weapons, run from a barricade they have made near Aldgate. The police are accusing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Picture: 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 courageous and intrepid followers, women and children gathered to oppose dictatorship in what became known as the Battle of Cable Street.

That day, Mosleys tyrants were forced into a demeaning retreat something achieved only through the superpower of people and communities grouped together. A organization was form 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 been demonstrated that autocracy could be defied through parishes uniting 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, trades union, anti-racist organisations, Bangladeshi associations and many others , not only to honour and remember the courageou people who fought against dictatorship in 1936, but to show our commitment and resolve to continue that engage. To mention: where reference is envision stuffs that are contentious, go against our British importances and are just essentially incorrect, we must call them out; well never give fascism, racism or racism prevail. These are appraises 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 representation is that you have an iconic British bronze alongside a theme on equal opportunities. There were a loads of mansions at the status of women parade in London its become really popular to get imaginative with them.

There has been a predisposition within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their hair. Even in the music manufacture, humen 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 makes we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This placard has such a powerful word its unapologetic, its raging. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut the fuck up theyd be eaten!

It appears as if someone has left this sign there at the conclusion of its marching. It is a piece of art it continues on telling a tale even when youve got on the Tube and gone home. ( As told to Leah Harper )

A Line Constructed by Walking, 1967 Picture: Richard Long. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Constructed By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I has actually envisage having this photo in my house and it necessitating different things to me at different instants in my life. Its a draw thats so full-grown. Before you understand what it images, its such a nurture, simple epitome. Then, when you read that this was a line that Richard Long established himself, by walking up and down, up and down theres something so figurative and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the creator can be seen in the persona. Long has preserved his own pressure on countries around the world and the mode he occupies his borders with this photograph. That act of making art is beautiful to me; it always builds me fantastically 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 reproduce Richards work. For me, this image is just a Matisse drawing of a look, where the charcoal-gray hasnt been lifted from the paper and hitherto you feel as if you are able to know the girl imaged. Its that kind of goody and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an creator happens in their artistry, I find it fantastically heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design magazine. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The person behind the portrait ever interests me as much as 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 head of government summit at the EU Council headquarters in Brussels. The Financial Meter use this photo following the end of Brexit. Picture: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, generator

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front plow of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambling, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the pellet would rotate 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 crimson. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian brain of the Tory party delighted 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, stimulating to an outcome that would work in the services offered of their personal ambition.

That repelling night, 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 ritzy sons out of contact with the miseries their policies had exercised. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron resigned. I expect he thought that was noble. He should have been forced to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to shape millions.

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