15 photos of Birmingham by Vanley Burke

Regarded as the 'grandfather of British black photography', the work of Vanley Burke provides a fascinating and vital document of our city's black and migrant communities
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Handsworth disturbance, 1985.

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Young girls sitting on wall, 1991.

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Anti-National Front demonstrators, Handsworth.

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Baptism, taken from 'Handsworth From The Inside 1968-1982'.

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Anti-National Front demonstrators, Handsworth.
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Wedding, taken from 'Handsworth From The Inside 1968-1982'.

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African Liberation Day, Handsworth Park, 1977.

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Kids in the park, Birmingham, 1980s.

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African Liberation Day, Handsworth Park, 1977.

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African Liberation Day march, Handsworth, 1977.

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Day trip to Skegness, 1975.

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 Anti-National Front demonstrators, city centre.

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Africa Liberation Day, Handsworth Park, 1977.

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Demonstration against racist attacks, 1980s.

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Educational outing, taken from 'Handsworth From The Inside 1968-1982'.

Behind the lens


With his latest exhibition, At Home With Vanley Burke, now showing at IKON gallery, we present a selection of the the Birmingham resident's past photography, taken on the streets of the city over the last four-plus decades.

Since arriving in Birmingham from his native Jamaica in 1965, Vanley has commited himself to documenting the black community in Britain. His photography has been exhibited all over the world, earning him numerous awards, honory degrees and a reputation as a hugely talented photographer producing invaluable and unique work.

His first solo exhibition, 'Handsworth From The Inside', was held at IKON way back in 1983 - and several images from that collection are shown here.

Over the years, Vanley has focused his lens beyond the black community, looking at Birmingham's asian population, and his work has been featured in various documentaries, books and even the cover of UB40's 'Geffery Morgan' LP.

Speaking in 2005, Vanley is quoted as saying of his work and career: "It's just about the ability to see something others may be unable to see, in terms of the value. Then show people. They need to see their contribution to this community. I mean, they have been contributing to this thing from the '50s and it's gone beyond, but there is no reference anywhere. It's about having themselves reflected, they are so desperate to see themselves. But this will be there, it isn't going anywhere...." 

At Home With Vanley Burke runs until September 22 at IKON.

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