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How I attend Britain: image that specifies the two countries

Former Guardian picture editor Eamonn McCabes TV series Britain in Focus has been mapping the 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 demoes impressing miner( Striking? Hes perfectly spectacular !) George Geordie Brealey( right) 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 skirmishes 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 comedian with police officers on the picket line. Wearing a childs bobbies helmet, he would pretend to inspect the lines. Here is one human, 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 schisms 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 divisions of Brexit they time 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 communicates the promise of second-generation immigrants born in Britain after their parents had property on our beaches on the Windrush in 1948. My mothers 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 wrap 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, hostile police sus principles, flunking colleges and the emerging animosity of inner-city life for immigrant communities. But the committee is also captures birth certificates of multicultural Britain and transmit a feel of hope and opening. This generation of ethnic minorities would go on to make 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 adored these chilling towers at Didcot in Oxfordshire[ which were dismantled in July 2014] they were circumstances of real attractivenes. Whenever I passed on the study, I would put down my notebook to enjoy them. They had great sweeping curves and in all climates shifted a different appearance to the world. We preserve windmills and steam trains, so why not these?

There is something poignant about the death of structures: industrial ones signal the be removed from one epoch of technology to another. Their shattering marks the overtaking of season, of one way of looking and being into another that we cant yet imagine. The minute when they fall to the soil traces a moment in record get for ever. No meditate beings gaze in astonishment when that happens.

Soldiers from the Womens Royal Army Corps in their service vehicle, driving through Trafalgar Square during the course of its VE Day celebrations in London. Image: RJ Salmon/ Getty Images

VE festivities, 8 May 1945

Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner

This photograph captures the exhilaration of one of the most important instants of the 20 th century the victory over fascism in 1945. It also symbolises the huge paces built for equal opportunities in the second world war. Ladies recruited previously all-male professions: without their conflict effort, we might not have triumphed over nazism.

The second world war was Britain at its best. It was the peoples war, where ordinary citizens demo heroism and relinquish beyond our modern resources. It proved that country intervention and a socialised economy can work.

Privilege and profiteering were seen vile. The common good ran first. People of all years, races and commonwealths united to represent Britain against the Nazis. We greeted refugees and allied with subjugated Europeans. The is necessary to a fairer, more equal society was the social consensus.

The wartime Common Wealth party was the equivalent of the anti-Tory partnership we need today: it united socialists, radicals and independents. Well to the left of Jeremy Corbyn, it built radical programs favourite and triumphed wartime byelections.

Social justice had mass appeal in world war two. The parties expected, 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 acquire it now?

British politician Nigel Farage assembles 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, scribe

This picture of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage says so much about our brand-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 sad comfort of playing courtroom 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 barrens, their unions smashed, their wages lowered, humbled by 30 years of neoliberalism, get two prosperous followers posing outside a golden face-lift. And the strong one has a team scheming 24/7 about how to reduce them to further penury and serfdom. The Thatcher-Reagan era was the preeminence of the 1 %. This painting represents the official coronation of the brand-new toytown emperors and their hapless puppets, and the rubber-stamping of medieval, dictatorial politics in a hi-tech world.

Miner at his evening meal, 1937. Picture: 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 combination forms from arts and photojournalism. As a stranger, he raised a disinterested, interlopers perspective, claiming that he wasnt making a political stage, but his paintings have become the defining likeness of the Great Depression.

Brandt too wanted to returning his highly stylised approach to photograph implacable descriptions of the people who lived and acted in these industrial parishes like this shot Brandts most celebrated photograph from his northern travel 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 posed this illustration, aiming the characters and formatting the place, does this detract from the power of the epitome? Brandts northern job never built him money and was published only later. But what he had achieved with these illustrations was an extraordinary grouped together of styles to create a stark and colors imagination of Britain never seen before.

Brandt never stopped pushing the borders of his art and he is rightly considered one of the biggest 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 periodical filled with image on every sheet, its mission proclamation to make a visual record of British beings at home, at work and at play-act.

David Weir, Paralympic Games, 2012

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

Melanie C, vocalist

This shot is incredible. David Weir with his mark moan is on the line in his victory pose, arms spread wide and his contestants blurred in the background. We have celebrated Olympic jocks for a long time, but actually the people who are achieving stupendous situations against the report is our Paralympians, who for so long were overlooked.

When it came to beings with disabilities, I used to feel doubtful about the decorum, but the biggest thing that we gained from 2012 s Paralympics was the way it changed positions in general. It was a really special period and it changed publics attitudes for ever. Weir held designations. He won the marathon. He prevailed four ambers in 2012.

Britain has a honour for being a bit negative, a little bit bleak. But that summertime we demonstrated 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 appeared very lucky to live in the capital. It was a wonderful day, and, for me, this image imparts so much influence, persuasivenes, decision everything that the Paralympics was. ( As told to Harriet Gibsone )

Battle of Cable Street, Aldgate, London, 5 October 1936. An anti-fascist gathering, some of them carrying weapons, run from a roadblock the government had made near Aldgate. The police are billing on the far side of the barricade, which has been reinforced with paving stones. Photograph: Patrimony Likeness/ Getty Images

Battle of Cable Street, 5 October 1936

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London

More than 80 years ago in October 1936 millions of courageous and intrepid mortals, 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 humiliating retreat something achieved only through the influence 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 reject dictatorship and everything associated with it.

This was a historic turning point, a succes that had lasting repercussions because it been demonstrated that autocracy could be fought through communities joining something that should continue to stimulate us.

Last October, the 80 th commemoration of Cable Street, I was proud to join another alignment of legislators, the Jewish community, trade unions, 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 persist that push. To say: when we investigate events the hell is divisive, go against our British ethics and are just fundamentally wrong, we must call them out; well never tell fascism, racism or prejudice predominate. These are costs that ring true in London, more than anywhere in “the worlds”.

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 painting is that you have an iconic British effigy alongside a message on gender equality. There were a loads of signs at the womens march in London its become really popular to get innovative with them.

There has been a predisposition within history in general for women to be small, to cross their legs and brush their “hairs-breadth”. Even in the music manufacture, humen have tried to quieten me down and box me differently. Now girls want to express themselves and be a part of things. Its about grouped together to stand up for effects we believe in, and being intersectional in our feminism. This poster has such a strong word its unapologetic, its relentles. Its not going to be tamed by anybody. Nobodys going to tell a lion to shut the fuck up theyd be dined!

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

A Line Built by Walking, 1967 Photo: Richard Long. All Privilege Reserved, DACS 2017

A Line Seen By Walking, 1967

Nadav Kander, photographer

I could really suspect having this photograph in my house and it necessitating different things to me at different moments in “peoples lives”. Its a image thats so matured. Before you understand what it images, its such a nourishing, simple-minded likenes. Then, when “youre reading” that this was a line that Richard Long generated himself, by ambling up and down, up and down theres something so symbolic and subtle about it.

I love photography in which the master can be seen in the persona. Long has entered his own distres on the planet and the practice he colonizes his surroundings with this photograph. That routine of making art is beautiful to me; it always stirs me incredibly happy.

I first saw this image when I was a photographers aide in the West End of London. I used to visit Adrian Ensor, the printer in Fitzrovia who used to print Richards work. For me, this image is like a Matisse drawing of a look, where the charcoal-grey hasnt been lifted from the working paper and yet you feel as if you might know the girl depicted. Its that kind of goody and prowess that I love.

Sometimes, when an artist intervenes in their skill, I find it improbably heavy-handed its so evident, like an interior design publication. But with Longs work is featherlight and nuanced. The party 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 expended this photo following the end of Brexit. Picture: Wiktor Dabkowski/ eyevine

Jeanette Winterson, columnist

This photograph though taken in 2015 was on the front deal of the Financial Times immediately after Brexit. Theres David Cameron, the legalised gambler, gambling Britain on the roulette wheel, confident the pellet would rotate quietly back to pitch-black. Instead, the economic austerity measures that drove the UK deeper and deeper into the crimson made certain that the play itself would end on red-faced. Red alert. Red faces. The reptilian psyche of the Tory party revelled they had been allowed to bet the country on a deluded dream of an island territory. And those inexpensive hoaxes, 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 braked, the weigh 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 wrought. No plan for what would does happen. Cameron resigned. I expect he thought that was noble. He should have been was necessary to clean up his own mess. Not walk away to constitute millions.

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