Britain in Focus: A Photographic History, 15 April 2024, BBC Four

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In the final instalment of Britain in Focus: A Photographic History, presenter Eamonn McCabe takes viewers on a journey through the evolution of British photography from the 1950s to the present day, exploring the impact of colour, the rise of independent photography, and the ongoing digital revolution.

The episode, airing on Monday 15 April on BBC Four, looks at the work of postcard producer John Hinde, who captured the mood of postwar optimism and leisure with his innovative use of colour photography. Eamonn also examines how colour photography became accessible to the general public, with cheaper cameras and processing techniques allowing families to document their lives in colour. He speaks to John Bulmer, an early adopter of colour for documentary photography, and learns why Jane Bown chose to stick to black-and-white for her iconic portraits.

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Moving into the 1970s, the programme explores the emergence of an independent movement in photography that fostered talents like Peter Mitchell, who used colour to comment on the changing urban landscape of Britain. Eamonn also meets Fay Godwin, whose work combined poetic landscapes with political and environmental concerns, and Vanley Burke, whose photography chronicled the African-Caribbean community in Handsworth, Birmingham.

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Assessing the digital revolution, Eamonn reflects on his own career as a sports photographer, noting the shift from manual cameras and film to digital technology. He explores how the digital era has influenced a new generation of photographers, shaping a thoroughly contemporary British photography scene.

Britain in Focus: A Photographic History airs on BBC Four at 8.00 pm on Monday 15 April 2024.

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