Review by Gerhard Clausing •
To cover more than 70 years of history and the accompanying photographic styles and to make an interesting photobook out of it requires quite a bit of talent. Gerry Badger, with all his editorial and curatorial background, is the one that can accomplish such a gargantuan task; he presents all of that and more in this special compendium.
The book is divided into five major sections. These are designated as WWII and after, The Swinging 60s, political documentary and beyond, Going Global: A Colour Revolution, and Photography and Digital Culture. Each section is accompanied by an extensive introduction to the time and photographic approaches and innovations that accompanied it.
Below, I have reproduced two or three sample pages and/or spreads from each of the five sections. These take us from a time of seemingly polite compliance and relatively simple entertainment all the way to a world of in-your-face objections and presentations. We move from a world of the 1950s through the times of more rebellious 1960s, and toward later decades that paid greater attention to social issues and adjustments in society. We are also fast-forwarded to our time, in which photographers are taking greater liberties with the depiction of people; critical depictions of late have also been more accepted and appreciated, at least by some. British society and the world at large became more critical and self-reflecting in the latter part of the 20th century, and especially into the 21st, and Badger’s selections definitely reflect that fact. The selections in the color era and “digital” portion of the book also demonstrate that artistic touches to documentary photography have become more acceptable.
A large number of photographers are featured in this book; besides well-known names such as Bill Brandt, Chris Killip, Martin Parr, Dougie Wallace, and Nick Waplington, we find many others whose interesting work is worth discovering and rediscovering as well. In all, there are more than 250 images by over 100 photographers, a true kaleidoscope of more than seventy years of social history documentation.
The book is enhanced by careful notes and further reading and viewing in the bibliography and the appended list of relevant photobooks, as well as a thorough index and notes on the sources of the images. For any number of reasons, this book is a major achievement and would be a substantial addition to any collector’s library, adding to an understanding and appreciation of the history of photography.
Gerhard (Gerry) Clausing, PBJ Associate Editor, is an author and photographer from Southern California.
Gerry Badger – Another Country. British Documentary Photography Since 1945
Author/Editor: Gerry Badger (born in Northampton; lives in London, UK)
Publisher: Thames & Hudson, London & New York; © 2022
Texts: Gerry Badger and others
Hardcover, illustrated with tipped-in image, sewn binding; 312 pages, paginated; 10 x 12 inches, 25 x 30 cm; printed and bound in China by C&C Offset Printing Co. Ltd. ISBN 978-0-500-02217-7
Photobook Designers: Kummer & Herrman
Articles and photographs published in the PhotoBook Journal may not be reproduced without the permission of the PhotoBook Journal staff and the photographer(s). The images and designs are under copyright by the authors and publishers.
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