Chris Steele-Perkins’ photographs of Britain throughout the 1980s became The Pleasure Principle, an era-defining depiction of the country and life under Margaret Thatcher. “There is only one famous person in the book. It was a deliberate choice as I wanted the book to be about ‘ordinary’ people. The one exception is Margaret Thatcher as she defined Britain in the 80s in a way nobody else did. I could argue that while she is clearly centre frame the photograph is as much about the acolytes and her effect on them, than it is about her,” Steele-Perkins says. Pictured here, prime minister Margaret Thatcher during the Conservative Party conference in Blackpool, 1985.

Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that

Chris Steele-Perkins
© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

Chris Steele-Perkins was born in 1947 in Rangoon, Burma and at the age of two, moved to England with his father. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Steele-Perkins has produced some of the most iconic images of British society in the last half century, exploring youth subcultures, poverty and community with artful sensitivity. His more than 45-year career has seen him travel widely, making significant bodies of work in his home country of Myanmar, as well as Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Steele-Perkins became a member of Magnum Photos in 1979 and continues to work in Britain and abroad.

© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

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