Hackney Flashers at 40

In 2010 I worked closely with Maggie Murray and Michael Ann Mullen on a display celebrating the work of the Format Photography Agency. Both photographers were members of the influential photography collective Hackney Flashers, who between 1974 and 1980 produced bodies of work which focused on two key areas of women’s lives: paid work and the lack of childcare for working mothers. Their resulting influential exhibitions were ‘Women and Work’ (1975) and ‘Who’s Holding the Baby?’ (1978), and the latter was included in the Hayward Gallery’s first photography exhibition, Three Perspectives on Photography (1979).

Now the Hackney Flashers have launched a website discussing their history and major projects, which also features slideshows of the collective’s photographs. To mark their fortieth anniversary and in collaboration with Photomonth, a special event will be held this Sunday 12th October, from 2-5pm at Chats Palace, 42-44 Brooksby’s Walk, London E9 6DF.

Read More

Christina Broom: Photojournalist

I’ve long admired the work of Christina Broom, one of the UK’s earliest female press photographers. Broom came to photography in her forties, and the remarkable body of work she produced from 1903-1939 provides a vital social record of this era. Her photographs regularly appeared in publications including The Tatler, The Sphere, and The Illustrated London News, and were self-published as picture postcards during the height of this industry.

Christina Broom, photographed by her daughter and only assistant Winifred Broom, showing a stall with examples of her work at the Womens War Work Exhibition, London, May 1916. Collection: Museum of London

Christina Broom, photographed by her daughter and only assistant Winifred Broom, showing a stall with examples of her work at the Womens War Work Exhibition, London, May 1916. Collection: Museum of London

It has been especially wonderful to see Broom’s work reach a wider audience recently due to the Museum of London’s important acquisition of  around 2,500 of her images. The many documentary subjects Broom’s photojournalism covered included the suffrage movement and its most prominent members. To coincide with new National Portrait Gallery display Suffragettes: Deeds not Words, this week I produced a new slideshow presenting highlights from the work of Christina Broom in the Gallery’s collection. The slideshow can be viewed here, and I recommend keeping an eye on the Museum of London’s future plans for a retrospective of Broom’s work, currently scheduled for autumn 2015.