Steve Edwards | 07.09. – 05.11.2017

The Fire Last Time: Documentary and Politics in 1970s Britain

In a time of crisis and increasing anti-capitalism, Steve Edwards considers the meeting of the political Left with photography in Britain in the 1970s. Edwards insists the fortunes of documentary and the visibility of social class are entwined. Beginning from a discussion of the critical fortunes of documentary over the last 30 years, he looks at the interest in Brecht and the fall out from the so called neo-Brechtian moment. In the process, he re-evaluates theories and practices of documentary, engaging with a range of documentary work; conceptions of skill and collective production and women and labour.

Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards is Professor of History & Theory of Photography at Birkbeck, University of London. His publications include The Making of English Photography, Allegories (2006); Photography: A Very Short Introduction (English 2006, subsequently Swedish, Greek Farsi and Arabic); and Martha Rosler: The Bowery in Two Inadequate Descriptive Systems (2012). He is a member of the editorial boards for Oxford Art Journal; Historical Materialism: Research in Critical Marxism; and the Historical Materialism Book Series as well as a convenor for the long-running University of London research seminar Marxism in Culture. Steve Edwards is currently working on two books, Daguerreotypes: Persons, Property and Portraits and a project on radical documentary in Britain during the 1970s. Assorted papers are available for download at