Brian Griffin – The Black Country

Birmingham-born, Black Country-raised photographer Brian Griffin has an exhibition at The New Art Gallery Walsall, opening 8th April and running till 19th June.

The exhibition, entitled The Black Country, is a new body of work, receiving its first UK showing (it was first shown at Collège des Bernardins, Paris in November 2010), restaging Griffin’s childhood memories of living among the factories on Stocking Street in Lye.

After leaving the Midlands in 1969 to study photography at Manchester College of Art, Griffin has seen his reputation grow and grow, becoming one of the UK’s best-known photographers, renowned for his shots of musicians, actors, political figures and the business community. But his formative years growing up in the Black Country have left a deep impression, giving him everything he ever wanted in life in terms of inspiration for his work, he recently explained.

The predominant focus of the exhibition is the factory worker, a position Griffin held down for a while after leaving school at 16, and the job both his parents did all through their working lives. Many of the photos were taken on location in factories in Lye and Cradley Heath. The photographs are accompanied by family snapshots and Griffin’s own accounts of his childhood, revealing how the factories and their workers, the surrounding landscape and local traditions inspired him from an early age.

Archive material and photos from Dudley Archives, Black Country factories and the Griffin family album will be presented alongside the exhibition.

Image credits:

1. Brian Griffin, Carpenter, 1986, Gelatin silver print, Courtesy of the artist.

2. Brian Griffin, Female Chainmaker, 2010, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of the artist.

3. Brian Griffin, Boro Foundry, 2010, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of the artist.

4. Brian Griffin, My Mother, 2010, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of the artist.

5. Brian Griffin, Cradley Heath Speedway Rider, 2010, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of the artist.

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