In this exhibition, Aperture Gallery revisits The English, one of Ian Berry’s most famous works from the 1970s.
In 1972, Whitechapel Gallery commissioned Berry to photograph the local area. The photographs were shown in two exhibitions ‘This is Whitechapel'(1972) , which was the first photographic exhibition at the gallery, and ‘Inside Whitechapel’ (1973). At that time, Whitechapel was going through a major demographic change, with the decline of the traditional Jewish community and the influx of new South Asian and West Indian immigrants. Berry’s photographs captured both old and new members of the community and their different cultures and living environments.
In 1974, Berry decided to expand the Whitechapel commission into a project about the whole of England, photographing the people and landscapes of other parts of the country. This project was published as a book titled ‘The English’ in 1975, which would become one of the most famous works by Berry. The project was supported by the first Arts Council Photography Bursary.
In this exhibition, a selection of photographs both from the original book of 1975, and from more recent shots, including images which have never been shown before. The show also features Nightclub (Whitechapel, London, 1964), which was adopted as the cover of the American folk singer Bob Dylan’s latest album Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020).