Radical campaigning photographer, Andrew Wiard, exhibits 40 years of his work
Us and Them – photographs by Andrew Wiard
Wednesday 6 June to Saturday 28 July 2012 (10-5pm Mon-Fri; 10-3pm Sat)
Karamel Gallery, 4 Coburg Road, Wood Green, London N22 6UJ 0208 829 8989
Private View – Thursday 5th July from 6.30pm
Andrew Wiard has spent a lifetime chronicling radical campaigns in photography. For his first exhibition 70 iconic images have been selected from five decades of protests. From the first Asian women-led strike at Grunwick in 1976, through the fight against Murdoch at Wapping, the poll tax riot, trade union struggles and environmental campaigns, right up to the student protests of today. This is Andrew’s first retrospective exhibition. It is fitting that it is being held at the Karamel Gallery at the Chocolate Factory, where Andrew’s studio is based.
“The photographer and social reformer Lewis Hine helped me define my job clearly – he talked of the need to show people facing up to those things that need correcting and to celebrate things that should be appreciated. This is the best definition I could find of what I choose to photograph and the unifying themes of this exhibition. “‘When you are ready, your teacher appears.’ In my case that was the extraordinarily influential but seldom acknowledged Hungarian director of photographers, Simon Guttmann. Simon, who was 84 years old when I first met him, was one of the fathers of modern photojournalism. In Berlin, during the last years of the Weimar republic before Hitler came to power, he ran Dephot – Deutsche Photo Dienst, the German Photo Service. There he inspired and mentored some of the greatest photographers of the day, such as Robert Capa, Kurt Hutton, Felix Mann and many others, some of whom he later worked with in London at Picture Post as fellow refugees from the Nazi regime.
“Soon after he founded Report, or Dephot re-created in post war London. The mission of Report was to see things differently, to gather a photographic record of the struggles and achievements of ordinary people whose lives and challenges were ignored by the mainstream press. There I was privileged to be among the last generation of photographers to pass through Simon’s hands. At Report we earned little, but I, for one, inherited from those times a deep and lasting sense of how important it is to record those significant encounters between “Us’ and “Them”, which I hope still inspires my photography today. “I now work independently, continuing in that tradition, and today have a long photographic record of radical campaigning, from such landmark events as the first Asian women-led strike at Grunwick in 1976, through the fight against Murdoch at Wapping, the poll tax riot, trade union struggles and environmental campaigns, right up to the student protests of today.
“The main focus of this exhibition, and my life’s work, is to show people facing up to those things that need correcting and to celebrate things that should be appreciated -like the sight of hundreds of Yorkshire Miners, led by their president Arthur Scargill, marching up a side road in a drab London suburb, towards a mass picket supporting a group of immigrant Asian women factory hands fighting for their working lives. “Before he died in 1989, Simon Guttmann said to me, ‘my dear, photographs by-pass the mind. They appeal through the eye straight to the heart’. As has so often been said, photography is a way of seeing: That is what I hope some at least of the pictures on these walls achieve.”