It has been more than 40 years since photographer Ian Berry, a member of the Magnum Photos cooperative, started The English, a photojournalism project documenting English life. Now, from 20 October at Lucy Bell Gallery in Saint Leonards-on-sea, The English will be exhibited for the first time.
Originally supported by the first Arts Council photography bursary, Berry set out to document his observations on English life at work and play in the mid-1970s.
“England is the easiest country in the world in which to take photographs,” says Berry. “In the way people react or rather do not react in the photographer’s presence.”
Berry was born in Preston, Lancashire, but spent a large part of his life in South Africa where he worked as a correspondent for titles such as The Sunday Times. He was the only photographer to document the March 1960 massacre in the South African township of Sharpeville, Transvaal, in which 69 protestors were killed by police.
In 1962, Henri Cartier-Bresson invited Berry to join Magnum Photos, a group that Cartier-Bresson had co-founded in 1947.