John Claridge returns to Mind’s Eye for a fourth solo exhibition at the gallery, this time on mines and miners in Yorkshire and Wales. His graphic prints suit the subject matter perfectly.
The photographs were taken in the early seventies, prior to two miners’ strikes against the Tory government of Edward Heath, and a good decade before the devastating battle with Margaret Thatcher, led by union chief Arthur Scargill. Those events marked a turning point in British society, the decline of the unions and the rise of Thatcherism, leading to prosperity for
many but also to severe social divisions, divisions which surely played a pivotal role in the vote for Brexit.
John Claridge’s photographs bear witness to an already declining industry by capturing not only life in the mines but also abandoned, derelict locales. A book based on these images is in preparation. John Claridge’s preceding book, on London’s East End, was the subject of an extensive feature in the British weekly The New Statesman.