From the mundanities of everyday life in South Yorkshire to some of the most striking images of British industrial struggle, the first major retrospective of the work of photographer Martin Jenkinson is to go on display in Sheffield.
Jenkinson, a former steelworker, is known for his enduring images of British protests in the 1980s as well as his moving and humorous insights into the steel city’s character.
His most famous work includes the arrest of Arthur Scargill and the image of a smiling pit worker wearing a fake police helmet inspecting police officers without identification numbers during the Orgreave miners’ strike in 1984.
The exhibition, Who We Are, at Weston Park Museum, will showcase more than 80 of his photographs spanning four decades. Among the images on display will be a portrait of Maxine Duffat, South Yorkshire Passenger Transport’s first black female bus driver, and a photograph of 1,500 people queuing to apply for 50 jobs at a new Sheffield restaurant in 1983.
Jenkinson died of cancer in 2012, aged 64. His work has been displayed at the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Liverpool and the National Coal Mining Museum, but this is the first major exhibition of his photography. The collection was put together with his daughter, Justine Jenkinson, who now manages his archive.
She said: “We are really grateful for this opportunity for Martin’s work to be recognised. While including some of his best known and most acclaimed photographs from his industrial and political archive, the exhibition also demonstrates other important aspects of his work.
“These images show the breadth of Martin’s interest in people and depict their everyday lives in photographs that are moving, imaginative and artistic.”
Born in London, Jenkinson moved to Sheffield in 1976, initially working in the city’s steel industry. After being made redundant in 1979, he took a placement with the local community newspaper, the Woodpecker, where he displayed a natural talent for photography.
Louisa Briggs, curator at Museums Sheffield, said Jenkinson had an “extraordinary ability to convey the inherent humanity in the subjects he covered”. She added: “His images are both a powerful document of the events that have shaped us and a moving reminder of the experiences that we each have in common. We’re hugely grateful to Martin’s family for allowing us the opportunity to create this exhibition, the first major retrospective of his work.”
Who We Are opens on 24 November at Weston Park Museum. Entry is free.