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    'Dirty Realism': documentary photography in 1970s Britain—a maquette

    Edwards, Steve (2018) 'Dirty Realism': documentary photography in 1970s Britain—a maquette. In: Baker, M. and Hemingway, A. (eds.) Art as World Making: Studies in Critical realism & Naturalism. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, p. 248. ISBN 9781526114907.

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    In a volume dedicated to Professor Alex Potts, this essay looks at radical photography in 1970s Britain. The period saw the development of an extensive network of critical practice, particularly workshop practice. The 'Radical 70s' have been drawing a great deal of attention, but I argue that the work of the period has often been misunderstood in the literature. A concentration on form has obscured the extent to which this was a practice committed to transform production relations. Against those (Wall, Roberts) who argue the critical image work of the period centred on 'deskilling', this essay argues the opposite took place, in a range of workshops photographers conducted radical pedagogy around representation. This involved a process of 'upskilling'. I argue the central concern for those involved was a focus on women's work (a wage work and social reproduction). The term 'dirty realism' is taken from Hans Magnus Enzensberger and provides a way of re-reading the 'Brechtian' impetus behind this work.


    Item Type: Book Section
    School: School of Arts > History of Art
    Research Centres and Institutes: Photography Research Centre, History and Theory of
    Depositing User: Steve Edwards
    Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2019 12:19
    Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 11:53

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