Photography book review: The Black Kingdom, By Brian Griffin


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The Independent Culture

Recognised as one of the UK's most important photographers of the past 40 years, Brian Griffin was born in 1948 and grew up near Birmingham among the factories of the Black Country.

His parents were factory workers, and Griffin seemed set to follow in their footsteps. But at 21 he escaped by enrolling to study photography at Manchester College of Art. The Black Kingdom is a visual autobiography of Griffin's life during the Fifties and Sixties, where everything surrounding him seemed to emanate from the factory. The book is a dissection of life in industrial England after the Second World War and shows the influences that would inspire the creative output of a highly successful photographer. Family snapshots and other relics of Griffin's working-class childhood sit with strikingly original and frequently surreal new portraits, and the book combines autobiography with a tribute to the industrial heritage of the photographer's childhood home.