Photography and Cultural Activism in the UK during the era of Thatcher. Photographer Sunil Gupta and Editor Chris Boot in conversation.
Sunil Gupta and Chris Boot, both active within the radical photography scene of the 1980s, consider photography at the time, as a tool of resistance to the prevailing representations of race and sexuality, the narrative of AIDS, and the politics of Margaret Thatcher. Illustrated with photographs by Gupta, and other images, Gupta and Boot will discuss endeavours then to establish Black photographic practice at the centre of the photography conversation; ‘Ecstatic Antibodies’ (curated by Gupta and Tessa Boffin) and photographic activism around AIDS and issues of sexuality; the role of the GLC and others in shaping the cultural landscape; and the relevance of this work today.
Sunil Gupta (b. New Delhi 1953) MA (RCA) PhD (Westminster) who has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. A retrospective is shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2020/21) and Ryerson Image Center, Toronto 2021. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His work is in many public collections including; Tokyo Museum of Photography, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Royal Ontario Museum, Tate and the Museum of Modern Art. His is represented: Hales Gallery (New York, London), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).
Chris Boot started working in photography in 1984, for the Photo Co-op in South London (now Photofusion). Working for Magnum since 1990, he went on to become Director in London, and then New York, and subsequently Commissioning Editor, Photography, at Phaidon Press, before starting his own publishing enterprise in 2002, Chris Boot Ltd. Between 2011 and 2021, Boot served as Executive Director of Aperture, New York, during which time Aperture magazine relaunched, with noted issues including Hello Photography, Queer, Vision and Justice, Elements of Style, and Prison Nation. Boot relocated to London in summer 2021 and is now independent.