'Life As It Is' by John Myers to be published by RRB PhotoBooks

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'Life As It Is' by John Myers to be published by RRB PhotoBooks
Life As it Is by John Myers. Hardcover, uncoated cloth | 220 x 260 mm. Special Edition of 100 copies, signed and limited 10x8" silverprint of 'Copper beech in front of house'. Pre-order here £40 regular edition | £120 special edition £45 | £150 after the pre-ordering period ends.

LONDON.- Life As It Is features eighty previously unpublished photographs from the archives of John Myers taken in and around Stourbridge in the 1970s and 80s. The focus of Myer’s work has always been the ordinary and underappreciated and this book—intended as a B-Side to his ‘The Works’ trilogy—combines both portraits and landscape to re-imagine a day in the life of Stourbridge.

In 2020 Myers began revisiting photographs made 30-40 years earlier which his younger self had either previously dismissed or the value of the image wasn’t apparent at the time. Through the selection in Life As It Is, Myers is challenging his youthful eye, and these previously disregarded images, collectively, build a more lived-in picture of the Middle England Myers has so diligently documented.

‘Unused images are the odd ones, the ones that didn’t quite conform to how the world should look or should match a pre-determined scheme. And sometimes they are that special category that simply ask the question: why did I ever take thatphotograph? So here they are.’– John Myers

Myers photographs were taken in the living rooms, workplaces, backyards and asphalt streets of his suburban town, most within walking distance of his house on his 5 x 4 Gandolfi plate camera. His black and white photographs are infused with social and historical clues rooting them in the 1970s and 80s—the houseplants, the capes and the corduroy, soft-furnishings and signage. The subject of his portraits are carefully placed in regards to the other objects in the frame—standing or seated they are usually shown full figure and a majority gaze directly, and unselfconsciously at the camera. His landscapes of those of stark austerity—photographs of carparks, shops, houses and streets without incident.

Although RRB have already published the landmark trilogy of John Myers we are fortunate that more photographs have recently come to light and are published here for the first time. Even more fortunate is the fact that many of these are Myers terrific portraits. This volume confirms Myers role as one of the key portraitists of post-war Britain.’ Martin Parr

John Myers will be giving a talk and signing copies of the book at the Martin Parr Foundation on 21 April 2022.

John Myers (1944) was born in Bradford. A selection of his photographs were first published in 1974 in the Arts Council funded book Middle England but it is only recently that his work has received renewed critical attention. Since exhibiting at IKON Gallery in Birmingham in 2012, his work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions and books. His work is included in notable survey collections such as The Photography Book (Phaidon Press, 2014) and is held in the collections of the Library of Birmingham, the Arts Council Collection, and the James Hyman Collection amongst others. The Martin Parr Foundation acquired a sizeable collection of his photographs in 2017. Although he is best known for his photography, he is also an accomplished painter and was senior lecturer in fine art at Stourbridge College of Art from 1969 to 1989 and senior lecturer in painting, and head of the MA in painting, at the University of Wolverhampton from 1989 to 2001.

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