John Myers first major exhibition at Ikon gallery unveils his extensive wealth of work spanning more than five decades. The showcase includes photographs from the late 1960’s early 1970’s along with portraits of individuals and families within Stourbridge and the Black Country.
A deep-bedded sense of occasion is prevalent throughout the vast majority of Myer’s work making for remarkable results. With his most noteworthy collection produced while Myers was in tenure as the Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Stourbridge College in 1969, he received wide acclaim for his batch of work entitled Middle England, a series of portraits of people known to him and taken in locations near to his residence at the time. Middle England was noted for its presentation of the human specimen as self-conscious yet seemingly at home all at the same time.
Myers’ work moved on in the 70’s to the exploration of ‘boring’ landscapes within Stourbridge. Making a concerted effort to reject the prominent ‘value added’ approach to photography that was fashionable at the time, his work depicted landscapes devoid of humanity; an urban space with no narrative or hidden story making for a refreshingly simple yet poignant group of shots.
Through capturing the ordinary in flat light and the use of a deadpan style, Myer challenges the idea of what is considered ‘devoid’ and embraces the generic, creating stunning pictures that tell the story of mundane Britain in breathtaking silence.
Words: Lee Hall