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“An epoch of social history is caught in these pictures that reflect the consequences for a community as its whole reason for existence - the engineering works and shipyards - are slowly dismantled. It has nothing to do with nostalgia: the conditions of living were too harsh for that. But the attachment to places that have been the site of struggle and love and suffering is no love of brick and stone and poverty, but a measure of the intensity of what people felt for each other here….. Here is a sensibility, a wisdom of the eye and the heart that makes this collection unforgettable.”
Jeremy Seabrook, New Society.
“…masterpieces of representation - political as well as photographic.”
– Jules Lubbock, The New Statesman.
Originally published in 1983 by Jonathan Cape, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s Byker is recognised as a seminal body of work and a modern classic of photography. Konttinen documented a close-knit community in Newcastle in an area that was her home for seven years and which was destined for wholesale redevelopment. The work gained national recognition as a key photographic account of a rich working class culture on the eve of its destruction. The book was selected by The Observer as one of the top ten books of the year.
Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen is a Finnish-born photographer and filmmaker and a founder member of the Amber Film & Photography Collective and the Side Photographic Gallery based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Along with Byker, her other long term projects in photography and film include Writing in the Sand, Letters to Katja, The Coal Coast, Song For Billy, Step by Step, Keeping Time, Byker Revisited, Today I'm With You and Still Here.
In 2011 Konttinen’s photography and Amber’s films were inscribed in the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register as being of outstanding national value and importance to the United Kingdom.
140 tritone plates
160 pages, 290mm x 260mm