An informative talk about the legacy of Shirley Baker took place at Tate Modern, London as part of the book launch of a new book entitled Shirley Baker by Lou Stoppard, writer and editor. Stoppard led the panel consisting of Dr Sabina Jaskot-Gill, Senior Curator Photography at the National Portrait Gallery and John van Aitken, photographer and Principal Lecturer in Media at University of Central Lancashire.
Lou Stoppard’s new book features some of the lesser known work by Shirley. The artist may be primarily known for her street photography but there is much more to her body of work; her subjects included dogs, children, Japan and France, and an increasing interest in youth culture, particularly in London. While working on her book, Stoppard spent many days with Shirley’s daughter, painstakingly sifting through the huge archive of work. A wealth of surprising images were discovered plus a essays and notes.
John van Aitken worked closely with Shirley and was able to give the audience a sense of her feelings about her own work. He referred to the ‘urban nostalgia’ of slum living and how responses have changed over the decades. Sabina Jaskot-Gill discussed Shirley’s eye for composition, and her skill in catching interaction between people.
The talk was well attended, and was followed by a lively Q&A session.