A piece of history

My friend John posted this image on FaceBook  just now. (see the image in situ here)


John notes the photo was posed for the Northern Echo newspaper to record the Spinal Injuries Association’s first AGM held in  Harrogate in 1974. It seems to me the photo epitomises the new realism that took hold in photography at the time. John and Sue Masham are shown as active agents with papers in hand and in conversation. They are not shown as subjects posed for the camera and their impairments signified by the wheelchairs are not emphasised, ignored or hidden from the frame.

Such imagery appears very different to say the images in Life magazine or Family of Man Exhibition where the limited representation of disabled people is most often presented through the perspective of victimhood, or the overtly political realist imagery of disabled protesting with placards that followed the politicization of disability in the 1970s. This is much more subtle and restrained. Yet it is much more powerful in it evocation for that.


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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