Photographs by Markéta Luskačová, taken on the North East coast of England in the late 1970s, have gone on display at the Martin Parr Foundation
to coincide with the first publication of this series of work by RRB Photobooks.
Czech-born Luskačová has lived in the UK since 1975 and first went to North East England in 1976 when visiting photographer Chris Killip, who at that time lived there. region when spending time with photographer Chris Killip in 1976, who at the time lived there. She fell in love with Whitley Bay, and with the people there who, in spite of the harsh weather, enjoyed their time at the seaside. When Amber, a film and photography collective, invited her in 1978 to photograph the North East of England alongside Martine Franck, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Paul Caponigro, she was drawn back to photograph the seaside.
I was very touched by it all: the families with children, old women in their best hats, elderly couples with grandchildren, teenagers courting shyly or boisterously, the ponies and donkeys walking patiently to and fro on the beach. The dogs and children were everywhere, dogs enjoying themselves as much as the children did. The fairground and the omnipresent tents, fortresses against the wind and rain, the seaside cafes selling sandwiches, apple pies, custard pies, ice creams and teas, of course. But they also sold boiling water to women who brought with them from their homes their teapots and teabags, because to buy tea for the whole family would be too expensive.
Although well known in photographic circles, Luskačovás work in recent years has lacked the exposure of some of her contemporaries. This exhibition and new book aim to contribute to a recent resurgence of interest in Luskačovás work and to introduce it to new audiences.
This long-forgotten body of work, depicting the North East beaches, fits perfectly into the remit of the Martin Parr Foundation - to revive important bodies of work. Luskačová's images of the beach and associated life, show the sense of community that this area is rightly noted for, with the family scenes at its heart. Martin Parr
Markéta Luskačová graduated with a degree in Sociology of Culture (1962-1967) from Charles University in Prague and completed a postgraduate course in photography at Prague FAMU (1966-1969). She began working as a freelance photographer in 1968. Pilgrims (1964 1971), one of her best known series of work, was photographed in Slovakia and exhibited at the V&A, London in 1983. In all, her photographs been the subject of over 40 international solo exhibitions, including notably an exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in 1989 of her photographs of British children, Photographs of Spitalfields at Whitechapel Gallery in 1991, and most recently a display at Tate Britain. Her work is held worldwide in numerous collections including the V&A, Tate Britain, National Portrait Gallery, and the National Media Museum in the UK, and internationally MoMA, New York; MoMA, San Francisco; J.Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam and Bibliothčque Nationale, Paris amongst others.