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FORMAT Presents: Black Country Dada 1969 – 1990 by Brian Griffin

14th June 2021 - 5th September 2021 Free

Brian Griffin is one of Britain’s most influential portrait photographers. He achieved early recognition in the 1970s and 1980s, inventing a new photographic style known as Capitalist Realism. Capturing the different workers of society, his photographs transform workplaces into stages and his subjects into actors.

This exhibition presents an autobiographical survey of the work of Brian Griffin that shares what it was like to survive as a photographer at the start of his career. In the exhibition we see the artist tell the story through his personal experience of those tough times.

Those were analogue days! Growing up amongst the factories of the Black Country, studying photography in Manchester alongside my friends Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr, and then with trepidation going down to London to make a living as a photographer in the early 1970’s. In popular recollection, the 1970’s have gone down as the dark ages; Britain’s gloomiest period since the second world war, was set between Harold Wilson’s ‘swinging sixties ’and Margaret Thatcher’s divisive eighties. What was it like to be a young photographer then? By the end of the 1980’s my photography was known throughout the world. How did I do it? What did I go through? It’s all in this exhibition and my recent publication in which I tell the story, warts and all.’ Brian Griffin 2021

Born in Birmingham, Griffin began a career in engineering aged 16, before enrolling to study photography at Manchester Polytechnic at 21. His first solo show was mounted in London in 1981, followed by solo shows in Europe, Asia and the USA. Griffin has published twenty books and in 1991, he was awarded the ‘Best Photography Book in the World’ prize at Barcelona Primavera Fotografica.

Brian Griffin’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of major art institutions including the Arts Council, British Council, Victoria & Albert Museum and National Portrait Gallery, London.

All exhibitions are free to visit.

New Gallery Opening Times:
Wednesday - Sunday 12.00pm – 4.00pm. Monday & Tuesday Closed