Evocative scenes of '80s Britain are captured in this new book

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 1st October 2020, 9:01 am

Striking images of a Britain fading into the past abound in a book bringing together a series of photographs by Paul Graham.

Originally self-published by Graham in 1983, A1 – The Great North Road is a portrait of the nation seen from the A1, from London to Edinburgh.

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As well as paving the way for a new generation of colour photographers upon its initial publication, the book documents the vast socio-political changes across the country under Margaret Thatcher, and offers a new way of thinking about our nation today: the political divides between North and South, our relationship to domestic travel, and the regional inequalities along one road.

A1 – The Great North Road was Paul Graham’s first book. It had a startling impact on British photography, using the tradition of social documentary with a fresh approach to colour.

Cafe Assistants, Compass Cafe Colsterworth, Lincolnshire, November 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)

Graham travelled repeatedly along the Great North Road with a large-format camera, to record the people, buildings and landscape of early ’80s Britain.

The award-winning photographer has previously had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Tate and Whitechapel galleries in London.

Now rare, Graham’s 1980s trilogy of books is being republished by MACK this month. The publication will be accompanied by a show at Huxley Parlour in London in October.

The book, which comes in embossed linen hardcover, costs £40. Visit mackbooks.co.uk/products/a1-the-great-north-road-br-paul-graham for details.

Interior, John’s Cafe, Sandy, Bedfordshire, April 1981 (photo: Paul Graham)
Lorry Driver, Beacon Services, South Mimms, Hertfordshire, May 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)
Great North Road Garage, Edinburgh, November 1981 (photo: Paul Graham)
Tony, Tower Cafe, Caldecote, Bedfordshire, May 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)
Couple on Day Trip, Washington Services, Tyne and Wear, May 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)
Bus Converted to Cafe, Lay-By, West Yorkshire, November 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)
Ferrybridge Power Station, West Yorkshire, November 1982 (photo: Paul Graham)