Birmingham acquires important photographic archive directly from artist

  • 13 October 2010

We have helped Birmingham Central Library acquire an important archive of photographic work by prominent artist John Blakemore, who was born in Coventry.

Acquired directly from the artist for £91,650, the archive will be permanently housed in the new Library of Birmingham when it opens in 2013.

The archive includes work spanning Blakemore’s career from his first photographs made in Libya in 1956 through to large colour works exhibited in 2002.

Pete James, Head of Photographs, Birmingham Library and Archive Services, said: "John Blakemore’s profound yet accessible work will engage, enthrall and help develop new audiences from all walks of life."

John Blakemore said: "I like the idea of my archive, having become used to the idea that I have such a thing, being housed close to my birthplace, and to the areas where the bulk of the work has been made."

Our director Stephen Deuchar said: "With its arresting observations of nature, captivating portrait shots and beautiful still lives spanning several decades, this archive also includes negatives and hand-made books that have never before been on public display. We’re delighted to fulfil John Blakemore’s wish in making his collection available for future generations to experience, in the area where he is from."

Birmingham Central Library holds one of the UK’s national collections of photography. The collection was awarded Designated Status in 2006 in recognition of its national and international significance.

John Blakemore was born in Coventry in 1936. He discovered photography during National Service with the Royal Air Force in Tripoli in the 1950s.He has worked in diverse areas of photography from documentary, through portraiture to still life, and is recognised as one of England's leading landscape photographers.

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