Ken Grant

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Ken Grant in 2014

Ken Grant is a photographer who since the 1980s has concentrated on working class life in the Liverpool area.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Born in Liverpool in 1967,[2][3] Grant worked as a carpenter in Liverpool after finishing school,[4][5] even then taking photographs.[6] He later studied at the West Surrey College of Art and Design,[3] studying under Martin Parr and Paul Graham.[4]

Grant tends to work slowly, returning again and again to the same places and becoming a familiar sight to the people who gather there.[6]

The Close Season was published by Dewi Lewis over a decade after Grant had first met Lewis; the photographs in No Pain Whatsoever (whose title derives from a story by Richard Yates) were taken over a span of more than two decades.[6]

Writing in The Observer, Sean O'Hagan has described the No Pain Whatsoever series[n 1] as "from the same great British tradition as the work of Chris Killip and Graham Smith . . . a record of a time when working-class traditions were under threat from Thatcherism."[2][n 2]

Writing in The Independent, Brian Viner said "The photographs . . . show Grant's wonderfully keen eye for the humdrum realities of everyday working-class – or more accurately, unemployed – existence in the 1980s and beyond . . . It is the instinct of the social documentarian, and Grant deserves to rank alongside the better-known Martin Parr as one of the best."[5] Diane Smyth, writing in the British Journal of Photography about Grant's book Flock said "Grant avoids making easy statements in favour of simple observation. Even so, by recording these everyday working lives, he's made a series that matters."[4]

As influences and inspirations, Grant has cited Raymond Carver, Fred Voss, Terence Davies, Christer Strömholm, Bruce Davidson, and Gil Scott-Heron.[6]

Grant was the course leader of the BA (Hons) Documentary Photography course at the University of Wales, Newport[4][7] between 1998 and 2013,[8] when he became a lecturer in the MFA Photography course at the University of Ulster.[9][10]



Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • The Close Season, The Gallery of Photography, Dublin, 2003.[14]
  • No Pain Whatsoever, Déda Gallery, Format International Photography Festival, Derby, 2013.[2][15][16]
  • Everton Photographs 1985—2000, Look/13 (Liverpool international photography festival), Beaconsfield Community Centre, Everton, 2013.[17]
  • Ken Grant Photographs: The Stevie Bell Invitation Edit, Look/13 (Liverpool international photography festival), Beaconsfield Community Centre, Everton, 2013.[11]
  • Flock, Third Floor Gallery, Cardiff, 2014.[18]

Joint exhibitions[edit]

  • Nothing is in the Place. Photographs of the 1990s by AVI, Anonymous (Value Action), Donald Christie, Vicki Churchill, Brett Dee, Nigel Dickinson, Chris Dyer, Jason Evans, Anna Fox, Ken Grant, Nick Knight, Mark Lally, Clive Landen, Gordon MacDonald, Martin Parr, Vinca Petersen, Mark Power, Paul Reas, Richard Sawdon-Smith, Helen Sear, Paul Seawright, Nigel Shafran, Wolfgang Tillmans, Nick Waplington, Jack Webb, Tom Wood, and Dan Wootton; curated by Jason Evans. Gallery of Contemporary Art Bunkier Sztuki, Photomonth in Kraków, 2010.[19][20] Fringe Focus. The Old Co-Op Building, Brighton.
  • Wirral Pride of Place Project, Caravan Gallery, New Brighton, 2013. With Tom Wood and Martin Parr.[21]
  • Champs-contre-champs: Les Visages de la ruralité, Gwinzegal, France, 2013. With Remy Artiges, Dalila Ingold, Dorothea Lange, Andrew Lichtenstein, Carlos Javier Ortiz, Pierre Pedelmas, Andy Sewell, W. Eugene Smith and Anthony Suau.[22]
  • I See Europe: A Visual Journey in Various Chapters, Stuttgart Fotosommer 2013, Kunstbezirk Galerie im Gustav-Siegle-Haus Stuttgart. Works by Arnis Balčus, Katharina Gaenssler, Julian Germain, Ken Grant, Martin Kollar, Geraldine Lay, Eva Leitolf, Frederic Lezmi, Søren Lose, Andreas Meichsner, James Morris, Marcella Müller, Krzysztof Pacholak, Jordis Antonia Schlösser, Volker Schrank, Corinne Silva, Laurenz Theinert, Remigijus Treigys, and Arturas Valiauga.[23]
  • Ken Grant / Louis Quail / Kajal Nisha Patel / Moira Lovell, Street Level Photo Works, Glasgow, 2013. Grant showed work from No pain whatsoever.[24]
  • Country Matters, James Hyman Gallery, London, September–November 2013. Photographs by Grant, Anna Fox, Bert Hardy, Colin Jones, Roger Mayne, Tony Ray-Jones, Chris Killip, Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, Martin Parr, Mark Power, and Homer Sykes.[25]

Exhibitions at festivals[edit]

  • The Birdhouse, various venues in Hereford, Hereford Photography Festival, England, 2012.[26][13]

Exhibitions as curator[edit]

  • Condition Report: New Photographic Art from the Czech Republic. Ffotogallery (Cardiff) 2010; Hoopers Gallery (London), 2011. Photographs by Kateřina Držková, Jan Měřička, Zdeněk Květoň, Radek Květoň, Vojtěch Fröhlich, and Tereza Příhodová.[27]
  • Double Take: Photographs from the Keith Medley Archive, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2013. Photographs by Keith Medley, curated for an exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool by Grant and Mark Durden.[28][29][30]


Three photobooks by Grant (among unrelated Pelicans)

Photobooks by Grant[edit]

  • The Close Season. Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2002. ISBN 1-899235-04-3. With a story by James Kelman ("It's the ins and the outs", from The Burn).[n 3]
  • The Birdhouse. Commissioned by the Elmley Foundation and in association with the Edgar Street Grid partnership. Edition of 500. Large magazine format. Looks at the people and the birds who inhabit a poultry market in Hereford.[n 4][13]
  • No Pain Whatsoever. Stockholm: Journal, 2014. ISBN 9789198125351. Edition of 1000.
  • Flock. Dublin: Artist Photo Books, 2014. ISBN 978-0-9927485-2-4. Edition of 750.[n 5]
  • Shankly One. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200.[n 6]
  • Shankly Two. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200.[n 7]
  • One Day in July near Cable Street Southport. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200.[n 8]
  • From the Provy to the Derry. Southport: Café Royal, 2015. Edition of 200.[n 9]
  • A Topical Times for These Times: a Book of Liverpool Football. Bristol: RRB, 2016. ISBN 978-0993232381. Edition of 1000 copies. With an essay by Niall Griffiths and a short text by Grant.

Other publications[edit]


  1. ^ The series is reproduced here within Grant's site.
  2. ^ A link to the article here on Smith is in O'Hagan's article at; a link there to Killip's website is changed here to a link to the article here on Killip.
  3. ^ Dewi Lewis's page about The Close Season is here.
  4. ^ The series is reproduced here within Grant's site.
  5. ^ APB's page about Flock is here.
  6. ^ Café Royal Books' page about Shankly One is here.
  7. ^ Café Royal Books' page about Shankly Two is here.
  8. ^ Café Royal Books' page about One Day in July near Cable Street Southport is here.
  9. ^ Café Royal Books' page about From the Provy to the Derry is here.


  1. ^ Pantall, Colin (2015). "Breaking Cover". British Journal of Photography. Apptitude Media. 162 (7833): 54–61. 
  2. ^ a b c Sean O'Hagan, "Format international photography festival – review". The Observer, 10 March 2013. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b Sarah Phillips, "Ken Grant's best photograph: A child on the Merseyside coast", The Guardian, 27 February 2013. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e Smyth, Diane (2014). "Flock: British photographer Ken Grant's latest book explores the UK's last weekly inner-city livestock market, writes Diane Smyth". British Journal of Photography. Apptitude Media. 161 (7826): 11. 
  5. ^ a b Brian Viner, "Mersey beat: Ken Grant captured the spirit of Liverpool as it coped with two decades of distress", The Independent, 17 February 2013. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d Benjamin Tree, "ASX interviews Ken Grant", ASX, March 2013. Accessed 16 April 2014.
  7. ^ Staff profiles, Film, photography and digital media, University of South Wales. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ Grant, Ken. "Ken Grant". LinkedIn. Archived from the original on 2 September 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014. Course leader Documentary Photography University of Wales, Newport 1998 – 2013 
  9. ^ Ken Grant, Belfast School of Art. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  10. ^ "2013/14 Art and Design", University of Ulster. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b "Ken Grant", European Prospects. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  12. ^ Search results for "ken grant", MoMA, 15 April 2014.
  13. ^ a b c "The Birdhouse", University of Ulster. Accessed 5 July 2014.
  14. ^ "The Close Season: Ken Grant", Accessed 14 April 2014.
  15. ^ Exhibition notice, Format International Photography Festival. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  16. ^ Phil Coomes, "No pain whatsoever at the Format Festival", BBC, 8 March 2013. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  17. ^ Exhibition notice, Look Photo Festival. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  18. ^ "Flock by Ken Grant", Third Floor Gallery. Accessed 4 July 2014.
  19. ^ "Nothing is in the place: Curatorial project by Jason Evans", Photomonth. Archived by the Wayback Machine, 14 August 2010; accessed 15 April 2014.
  20. ^ "Cockroach Diary appears in Nothing is in the Place at Brighton Fringe", Anna Fox News Page, 25 September 2010. Accessed 15 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Parallel program: Wirral Pride of Place Project", Look Photo Festival. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  22. ^ List of exhibitions for 2013, Gwinzegal. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  23. ^ "Sichtweisen zu und über Europa", Kunstbezirk. (in German) Accessed 15 April 2014.
  24. ^ Exhibition notice, Street Level Photo Works. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  25. ^ "Country Matters.". James Hyman Gallery. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  26. ^ "Browse by Ulster Authors and Editors", University of Ulster. Accessed 6 July 2014.
  27. ^ Exhibition notice, Ffotogallery. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  28. ^ "Doubletake: The photographic portraits of Keith Medley", Ulster Institutional Repository, University of Ulster. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  29. ^ Exhibition notice, Look Photo Festival. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  30. ^ Colin Pantall, "Keith Medley's archive: Double take", Colin Pantall's blog, 21 May 2013. Accessed 14 April 2014.
  31. ^ "From Talbot to Fox. 150 Years of British Social Photography". James Hyman. Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  32. ^ "European Prospects", Accessed 22 April 2014.

External links[edit]