Starting out in his father’s carpentry workshop, Ken Grant first pursued his interest in photography through a two-year technical course, studying with unemployed shipyard labourers in the mid-1980s. He’s now a respected documentary photographer who also teaches at the Belfast School of Art; as his work on New Brighton goes on show alongside his early mentors Tom Wood and Martin Parr, and BJP caught up with him on his approach to pedagogy
“I was the first to move to New Brighton, and it was by sheer chance,” says Tom Wood. “I studied fine art part-time [a Fine Art Painting BA at Leicester Polytechnic], then went back to the car factory where I had worked before. Then I found a job as a photo technician at the poly [now Wirral Metropolitan College, where he went on to teach], and we moved there in September 1978.”
Thus began a golden age for photography in New Brighton, which lasted until 2003 when Wood moved to his current home in North Wales. In the intervening 25 years, Ken Grant also lived in New Brighton from 1992-2002, studying for a spell at Wirral Met, and Martin Parr was based just 20 minutes away from 1982-1985. Between them the three photographers created a huge body of work on the seaside town, which is based just across the River Mersey from Liverpool in North England.
“Back in 2005, I made a list of possible subjects to photograph and taking photos at a horse racing meeting was top of the list,” says Martin Amis, who first went to the races as a child with his father. “I have vivid memories of these childhood days out; the sea of interesting faces, the hubbub of activity and the thrill of winning.” When he started Amis had no plans to make a book but, after taking a break from the project in 2009, he realised it had the potential. Now he’s finally launching The Gamblers, which he’s made with RRB Publishing. “I put together a dummy version back then, but this was a time when the photobook business really started to take off, so I left it as a work-in-progress,” he says. “I mentioned the project to Rudi Thoemmes at RRB in 2016, and with his encouragement I decided to revisit the work and shoot more material to finish the book.” The photobook business he mentions is his online shop, Photobookstore.co.uk, which he set …
As a young man in the late 1970s and 80s, Tom Wood regularly found himself among the crowds waiting for the ferry at Liverpool’s Pier Head. Commuters weary after a long day’s toil, elderly couples gazing out at the Mersey in comfortable silence, teenage girls sporting shell suits, hair swept into side ponytails. “There were always loads of people at the Pier Head because it’s a terminus for the whole of Merseyside,” Wood says. “Coming home I’d find I’d just missed a ferry. You’ve got at least 20 minutes to wait for the next one so what do you do? You take pictures.”
Preconceptions and stereotypes about Northern England are so entrenched that it can be hard to know how they got there, but curators Lou Stoppard and Adam Murray hope to change that this winter with a show examining how photography, fashion and art have developed in the region over the last century. And in doing so, they hope to demonstrate – and celebrate – North England’s immense influence on global culture and style. Running from 08 November-04 February at Somerset House, North: Fashioning Identity continues a show that Stoppard, SHOWstudio’s editor-at-large, and Murray, academic and lecturer at Manchester School of Art and Central Saint Martins, exhibited at earlier this year. Featuring over 100 works, the exhibition includes fashion photographers such as Alasdair McLellan, Corinne Day, David Sims, and Glen Luchford, but also documentary photography dating from the 1930s to the present day.
Martin Parr has found a permanent home for the foundation he set up in 2014, giving visitors access to his archive and to his formidable collection. “I’ve been very lucky,” he told BJP’s Gemma Padley. “I have secured a very good living from doing this, and so the foundation is a great way to feed some of that back into the system.”
Martin Parr, Bill Brandt, Karen Knorr, Shirley Baker, Brian Griffin, Daniel Meadows, Chris Steele-Perkins, Mark Power, Tom Wood, Roger Mayne, and Tony Ray-Jones are all showing work in a new exhibition hosted by Burberry during London Fashion Week (and beyond). Installed over three floors in Burberry’s new show venue – the 18th century, Grade 2-listed Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, London – Here We Are will include over 200 images by more than 30 photographers from 18 September-01 October
Portrait of Britain is inviting photographers to submit images that reflect the unique heritage and diversity of our country and show the face of modern Britain. 100 winning portraits will be selected for a public exhibition showcased nationwide in September 2016. DEADLINE TONIGHT – enter now. We’re asking portrait photographers what goes into making the perfect portrait – this week we hear from Francesca Allen. In your view, what makes a compelling portrait? Colours, emotion, movement. I like to see that the image was part of a wider story, rather than someone sitting on chair for half an hour. There’s no recipe for a perfect portrait. The most beautiful portraits are those with a thumb over the lens and a blinking subject – what could be more honest than that moment of accidental unawareness? What attracts you to a potential subject? I’m fascinated by the different ways people react in front of the camera, either by becoming totally in control of themselves or regressing into shyness. It’s a way of learning about myself too. I think that’s …