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27 rare vintage and lifetime prints from the personal collection of Shirley Baker on view in London
Shirley Baker, Salford, 1965. © Estate of Shirley Baker, Courtesy of The Photographers’ Gallery.

LONDON.- The Print Sales Gallery presents 27 rare vintage and lifetime prints from the personal collection of pioneering British photographer Shirley Baker (1932- 2014). The exhibition features both increasingly rare signature images and new and unseen works.

Thought to be the only woman practicing street photography in Britain during the post-war era, Shirley Baker’s humanist documentary work traced communities in the North West of England throughout the 1950s, 60s and into the 80s.

Baker’s passion for photography is perhaps best epitomised by her depictions of the daily life of the working class terraced streets in Salford and Manchester, which despite receiving little attention at the time, still remain important and empathetic documents of the urban clearance programmes and the resilience of communities under siege. This twenty-year period saw her evolve her ideas of documentary form and subject matter.

“My sympathies lay with the people who were forced to exist miserably, often for months on end, sometimes years, whilst demolition went on all around them.” (Shirley Baker, on the slum clearances of inner Manchester and Salford)

Baker continuously photographed a range of humanist subjects, sparked by her amusement and curiosity of human character and behaviour, and a compassion for social injustice.

Her first London solo exhibition Women and Children; and Loitering Men took place at The Photographer’s Gallery in 2015. Curated by Anna Douglas, this was one of the gallery’s most highly attended exhibitions of that year, and also showed in Madrid for Summer 2016 and toured to Manchester Art Gallery for Summer 2017. The accompanying book was also a success, and the first and second editions sold out before the end of the show.

The Photographers’ Gallery additionally featured some of Baker’s street photographs on their stand at Photo London 2016 at Somerset House.

Following this, coinciding with Photo London in May 2016, Photofusion launched On the Beach – an exhibition of Shirley’s lesser known work from the 1970’s curated again by Anna Douglas. It comprised of photographs taken on the beaches of Blackpool contrasted with images captured on the beaches of the South of France. This exhibition toured to the Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool for Summer 2017.

Her work was featured in North: Identity, Photography, Fashion at Open Eye Gallery – Liverpool which toured to Somerset House, London in November 2017. Several photographs were also selected by Burberry for their exhibition on British Documentary Photography in September 2017 to accompany their catwalk show, and exhibited at Paris Photo in the prestigious Grand Palais Museum.

Prices range from £750 - £2,500 + VAT with stamped, annotated and signed modern and vintage prints produced in varying dimensions. There will also be a couple of publications about her work available for purchase alongside the exhibition.

Baker also has two new publications due out later this year. Without a Trace by Shirley Baker launches in September 2018 and Dog Show by Shirley Baker launches in October 2018.

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