Martin Jenkinson retrospective to go on show in Sheffield

▼ Clock­wise from be­low, a miner at Or­g­reave; bus driver Max­ine Duf­fat; Parkin Sil­ver­smiths in Sh­effield; a derelict melt­ing shop at the for­mer Brown Bay­leys steel-maker; work­ing out at an un­em­ployed drop-in cen­tre; the queue for jobs at a new restau­rant

From the mun­dan­i­ties of ev­ery­day life in South York­shire to some of the most strik­ing images of Bri­tish in­dus­trial strug­gle, the first ma­jor ret­ro­spec­tive of the work of the pho­tog­ra­pher Martin Jenk­in­son is to go on dis­play in Sh­effield.

Jenk­in­son, a for­mer steel­worker, is known for his en­dur­ing images of Bri­tish protests in the 1980s, as well as his mov­ing and hu­mor­ous in­sights into the steel city’s char­ac­ter.

His most fa­mous work in­cluded the ar­rest of Arthur Scargill and the image of a smil­ing pit worker, wear­ing a fake po­lice hel­met, in­spect­ing po­lice of­fi­cers with­out iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers dur­ing the Or­g­reave min­ers’ strike in 1984.

His most fa­mous work in­cluded the ar­rest of Arthur Scargill and the image of a smil­ing pit worker, wear­ing a fake po­lice hel­met, in­spect­ing po­lice of­fi­cers with­out iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers dur­ing the Or­g­reave min­ers’ strike in 1984.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, Who We Are, will show­case more than 80 of his images span­ning four decades. Among those on dis­play will be a por­trait of Max­ine Duf­fat, South York­shire Pas­sen­ger Trans­port’s first black fe­male bus driver, and a pho­to­graph of 1,500 peo­ple queue­ing to ap­ply for 50 jobs at a new Sh­effield restau­rant in 1983.

Jenk­in­son died of can­cer in 2012, aged 64. His work has been dis­played at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, Tate Liver­pool and the Na­tional Coal Min­ing Mu­seum, but this is the first ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion of his pho­tog­ra­phy. The col­lec­tion, which opens on 24 Novem­ber, was put to­gether with his daugh­ter, Jus­tine Jenk­in­son, who now man­ages his archive. The images, she said, show the breadth of her fa­ther’s in­ter­est in peo­ple “and de­pict their ev­ery­day lives in pho­to­graphs that are mov­ing, imag­i­na­tive and artis­tic”.

Jenk­in­son died of can­cer in 2012, aged 64. His work has been dis­played at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery, Tate Liver­pool and the Na­tional Coal Min­ing Mu­seum, but this is the first ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tion of his pho­tog­ra­phy. The col­lec­tion, which opens on 24 Novem­ber, was put to­gether with his daugh­ter, Jus­tine Jenk­in­son, who now man­ages his archive. The images, she said, show the breadth of her fa­ther’s in­ter­est in peo­ple “and de­pict their ev­ery­day lives in pho­to­graphs that are mov­ing, imag­i­na­tive and artis­tic”.

Born in Lon­don, Jenk­in­son moved to Sh­effield in 1976, ini­tially work­ing in the city’s steel in­dus­try. Af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant in 1979, he took a place­ment with the lo­cal com­mu­nity news­pa­per, the Wood­pecker, and dis­played a nat­u­ral tal­ent for pho­tog­ra­phy.

Born in Lon­don, Jenk­in­son moved to Sh­effield in 1976, ini­tially work­ing in the city’s steel in­dus­try. Af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant in 1979, he took a place­ment with the lo­cal com­mu­nity news­pa­per, the Wood­pecker, and dis­played a nat­u­ral tal­ent for pho­tog­ra­phy.

Louisa Briggs, the ex­hi­bi­tions cu­ra­tor at Mu­se­ums Sh­effield, said Jenk­in­son had an “ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­ity to con­vey the in­her­ent hu­man­ity in the sub­jects he cov­ered”.

She added: “His images are both a pow­er­ful doc­u­ment of the events that have shaped us and a mov­ing re­minder of the ex­pe­ri­ences that we each have in com­mon. We’re hugely grate­ful to Martin’s fam­ily for al­low­ing us the op­por­tu­nity to create this ex­hi­bi­tion.”

 

opens on 24 November at Weston Park Museum. Entry is free.

 

The Guardian, North of England Correspondent

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