Photobook of the Month – Ken Grant – A topical times for these times

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Ken Grant is an English photographer originated and living in Liverpool. Ken Grant started photography in the 80s and its main focus was and remains his hometown. So of course, when talking about Liverpool, it is common that football comes in mind.

Liverpool has changed from a major port of the British empire to a city affected by de-industrialization with a very high unemployment rate and the need for people to seek work elsewhere. As mentioned in the film of Terence Davies « Distant Voices », Liverpool is the city of the working class. All Ken Grant’s work revolves around a social approach of people with an empathy and a generosity that fill the photographs. He manages to make us extremely endearing these people and even bring out a certain grace.

Permeated by the popular story of his family, Ken Grant is in total immersion with his subjects. In its square photographs, black and white, we are always very close to the characters. We share their story, we can almost hear them speak, hear the shouts of joy, but also silences when sadness settles.

This new book brings together photographs on the theme of football. But beware, it is not here some kind of sports photography. When speaking of football, it is the social connection which is in question. In this community, from young to older, everyone gathers to share the latest passion that seems to still unite Liverpudlians. No tension between Liverpool FC and Everton, here we support the team that plays at home, we go to the game in family, as the motto inscribed on the Shankly Gates “you’ll never walk alone.” This book is the chronicle of the everyday of inhabitants , they have fun, they suffer, they fight and also… they drink, of course!

From outside, the book has the colors of Liverpool. Inside, the photos are beautifully printed. The layout creates a dynamic rhythm, alternating full page photographs with blank ones or tighter compositions sometimes with 4 pictures per page. It vibrates to the rhythm of football, we hustle with others. The book is dense and you come out tired, almost as you can be satisfied after a day at the stadium.

With this work, Ken Grant can be compared with some of my favorite authors of a so-called social English imagery like, Terence Davies, already mentioned, but also Bill Douglas, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh as film makers, or Chris Killip Peter Mitchell, Daniel Meadows, and Paul Graham in his early work (Beyond caring) in the field of photography.

Hardcover book published by RRB Photobook in 2016. 19,5 x 23 cm, 176 pages, 170 photos.

More info here.

And Ken Grant’s site : http://www.ken-grant.info/

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“Photobook of the Month” is curated by Christer Ek (Christophe Le Toquin) of “Who needs another photo blog“, a blog where he shares some thoughts about photography. Christer is a French photographer and also a photobook collector.

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