England, My England
In his latest publication, England, My England
, award-winning Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins presents a sweeping, unique record of what he thinks makes England truly English. Taken over a period of some 40 years, this personal photographic commentary is an honest and singular testament to the country and the people who have made it their home.
"Ever since I became a photographer England has been an important subject for me. Once I started to travel the world as a photographer I still returned to work on English themes, chipping away, trying to understand, in a small degree, what I was a part of.
The old England of my childhood has not disappeared for the roots are far too deep and rich and ancient, but has changed, evolved and grown numerous new aspects. England is a concept beyond cartography and race, not amenable to precise definition. It is always in flux and the definition differs depending on where you stand and by what prejudices you are bent.
These photographs are a personal selection of images that I have taken over 40 years of photographing in this country. Some are drawn from books I have made on English themes, others from stories I have worked on, from pictures of family and friends, from random events encountered. They have nothing to do with celebrity or fame, but of everydayness and how that can be special."
Chris Steele-Perkins moved from Rangoon to London with his family in 1949. He graduated with honours in psychology at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1967-70) while working as a photographer and picture editor for the student newspaper.
In 1971 he moved to London and started working as a freelance photographer, sent out on his first foreign assignment in 1973 in Bangladesh followed by work for relief organisations and on travel. In 1975 he worked with EXIT, a group dealing with social problems in British cities.
In 1979, his first book, The Teds
, was published. Steele-Perkins joined Magnum and soon began working extensively in the Third World. His latest large-scale project is on the situation in Afghanistan. He is now also working extensively in Japan.www.chrissteeleperkins.comTuesday 8 June 2010
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