Pogus Caesar /OOM Gallery ©
in Jamaica in 1951, Vanley Burke moved to Birmingham in 1965, armed
with his camera given to him by his grandmother for his 10th birthday.
He started photographing daily life in the community around him
in 1967 and has continued to the present day.
over 30 years Vanley Burke has single-mindedly followed his self
appointed task to document the life of the black community in Britain.
From worship and baptism in a local church to family weddings and
birthdays or simply men enjoying a session of dominos.
events in pictures...
Riot Police - Photograph by Vanley Burke©
was there at African Liberation Day in 1977, Handsworth park, where
the biggest all-black crowd gathered in Britian. He was also there
in 1981 and 1985 when Birmingham's streets erupted in violent riots.
Vanleys amazing work has been exhibited extensively across
the UK and abroad. With solo exhibitions in New York, Mall and closer
to home at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, Birmingham Museum and
Art Gallery, The Black Arts Gallery in London Cornerhouse in Manchester,
photographs have also been displayed in locations more easily accessed
by black audiences including pubs, clubs, community centres, churches
home and abroad...
much of his work is centred around the Handsworth area, Vanley has
also worked in many other towns and cities and overseas, most importantly
in South Africa during the struggles against apartheid.
& Baby - Photograph by Vanley Burke©
after the release of Nelson Mandela he took self-financed trip to
South Africa to record people and events in post-Apartheid.
photographs are very much a part of a documentation process which
we as black people need to go through, and it is not an attempt
to show the black community to the wider community, this is where
we are, it is more importantly a record!" - Vanley Burke
Vanley Burke collection
a small selection of photographs from
the Vanley Burke archive.
Burke at Birmingham City Archives...
the Birmingham Central Library to view the full collection
of photographs taken by Vanley Burke, for exhibitions and
projects in both the UK and abroad.
More of Vanley's work is also featured on the Digital Handsworth
website alongside work by local other photographers.
Digital Handsworth provides a multimedia resource guide to
the history of the community, using personal documents, photographs,
recollections and oral history, personal documents and film
in the possession of archives, libraries and museums.
the Dgital Handsworth website: www.digitalhandsworth.org.uk