‘I set out to record what I saw professionally…but in spite of a journalistic purpose I am drawn to visual situations.’ - Ian Berry from the Foreword to The English book.

For the first time in 40 years Lucy Bell Gallery is proud to exhibit over 50 black-and-white photographs by Magnum photographer Ian Berry from his long-term project ‘The English’.

The project was originally supported by the first Arts Council Photography Bursary, and was later published as a book for which Berry photographed the English at work and at play between 1974 and 75. This new exhibition includes previously unseen and unpublished images from the project.

The exhibition ‘The English’ is an important body of work and is a sensitive and highly personal exploration of England and English life from the perspective of a Magnum documentary photographer who grew up in the North of England, but had spent a substantial part of his life abroad, particularly in South Africa.

40 years later, this series of images forms a unique collection by a photographer who captured a time, now passed, from an era when there was far greater freedom to create photographs. At the time Berry noted: ‘England is the easiest country in the world in which to take photographs—in the way people react or rather do not react in the photographer’s presence.’

These images explore the English at work and at play, they explore the eccentricities, and humour of the English, while others portray, with an intimate delicacy, the fragility of what it is to be human.

Photographer Zak Waters says of Ian Berry’s work, “Ian Berry is the most naturally gifted photographer I have ever met. He has an uncanny knack of creating images from where most photographers would not find one. Most people are unaware that he is probably more comfortable taking vertical images rather than the more natural horizontal format, which in itself is a challenge away from, say, portraiture. Ian’s images have helped define certain aspects of history."

All photographs on show are for sale and have been specially printed by Ian Berry using the new digital techniques however there are some rare vintage prints also available to buy and view.