Snapshot: Grimes & Wood, Motor Engineers (1979)

Peter Mitchell’s work chronicles the demolition and rebuilding of Leeds and the shifting lives of its inhabitants in the 1970s

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The portrait was taken in 1979 by British photographer Peter Mitchell. Two men stand in front of their dilapidated garage on Craven Road in Leeds. Mitchell, who was employed as a draughtsman for the ministry of housing before studying art, worked as a lorry driver in Leeds in the 1970s. His work chronicles the demolition and rebuilding of the city, and the shifting lives of its inhabitants. Mitchell always asked permission to photograph his subjects, shooting them head-on and from a distance: the figures here are strangely formal against a background that has fallen into disrepair.

A 1979 show of his work was the first colour photography exhibition at a UK gallery by a British photographer; in 2007 he was included in Tate Britain’s How We Are: Photographing Britain. His new monograph, Strangely Familiar (2013), presenting Leeds over 36 years, is published by Nazraeli Press. Harriet Crawford

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