Brian Eno. Woodbridge, Suffolk, England 1990
Silver Bromide Print
45.3 x 45.3cm
Brian Griffin is one of the world’s leading photographers, with a unique vision that has taken him on a visual odyssey.
Born in Birmingham and having studied photography at Manchester Polytechnic School of Photography, Brian Griffin has had a profound effect on the medium in the last 30 years. Described by the British Journal of Photography as “the most unpredictable and influential British portrait photographer of the last three decades”.
In 2009 Brian Griffin’s work was presented in a major exhibition at the Arles Photography Festival. The exhibition included work from two major commissions, firstly “Team Photo”: the High Speed Channel Tunnel rail link and the construction of St Pancras station, plus the mythical journey to meet the “ Water People”, commissioned by Reykjavik Energy, Iceland.
This was followed in 2010 by an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery of the “The Road to 2012” a major photographic commission about the 2012 London Olympics. Later in 2010 in Birmingham a large retrospective of his work was shown at three venues in the city centre, with the year finishing with a commission to photograph “The Black Country” that was shown at the College des Bernardins during the Mois de la Photo in Paris, which returns to the UK to be shown this year at the New Art Gallery Walsall .
For 2011 he has been commissioned to produce a major exhibition to launch Marseille – Provence 2013 European Capital of Culture.
Brian has self-published eight books of his works, and his photographs can be found in the Arts Council Collection and in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Reykjavik Art Museum, Birmingham Central Library and the National Portrait Gallery.
The Black Country
In the middle of England there is a region known as the Black Country where a series of towns, which include Tipton, Dudley, Cradley Heath, Netherton and Lye, nestle between the extensive networks of road, rail and canal just north and west of Birmingham.
The Black Country is so called because of the thick seam of coal that comes close to the surface throughout the region. The coal and the seams of iron, limestone and clay also found in the area made it of major importance during the Industrial Revolution.
Even now although much of the traditional industry has gone into decline there is a fierce pride amongst the people of The Black Country in the heavy work that they and their ancestors did. Often generations of families would follow in the same trade or work in the same factory. The region is particularly famous for nail and chainmaking (the chain for the Titanic anchor being made in Netherton).
The Black Country people often speak in dialect. It is said that those who ‘spake’ it sound more like characters from Chaucer than inhabitants of 21st Century Britain.