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Janine Wiedel: Vulcan's Forge

Janine Wiedel: Vulcan's Forge

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Originally shown at The Photographers’ Gallery in 1979, the exhibition garnered critical acclaim, solidifying the work as one of the most important of its generation. Bluecoat Press is proud to be publishing this incredibly significant project as a 250-page photobook, beautifully printed and bound.

Janine Wiedel is an internationally important documentary photographer whose work spans over five decades. Tutored by Ansel Adams and Nancy and Beaumont Newhall, she photographed the Black Power movement in the late 1960s and Berkeley People’s Park protest and riots of 1969. Arriving in England in 1970, she embarked on a continuous series of long-term projects including five years documenting Irish travellers. Her later work includes the Greenham Common Women’s Camp, the multicultural community squat in St Agnes Place, London, and the BAME and Rastafarian communities in Brixton. Her latest work includes six months photographing in the Calais ‘Jungle’ and Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk. Always politically committed, Janine’s outstanding work is in the best traditions of humanist photography.

In 1977, Janine Wiedel set out in her VW campervan to photograph industry in England’s West Midlands – once the heart of the Industrial Revolution. A region that was home to thousands of businesses – from potteries and jewellers to coal mines, steel and iron works – was in steep decline; underinvestment over many decades in both premises and machinery had created a depressing situation where once world-leading businesses were no longer competitive internationally and facing a grim future.

Janine realised that this was a critical turning point in Britain’s industrial history and she set out to document the workers within their working environment. She was given remarkable access by the factories and was welcomed by the workforce, who greatly appreciated her interest in recording not just their daily work routines but also the bonding and social interaction that was so important in often grim factory environments.

Title: Vulcan's Forge
Publisher: Bluecoat Press, 2024
Photographers: Janine Wiedel
Author: Janine Wiedel
Graphic Design: Tom Booth Woodger
Format: Cloth-bound Hardcover
Size: 24 x 32 cm, 250 pages

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