Island Life: Photographs from the Martin Parr Foundation

Graham Smith

Born 1947, Middlesbrough

Aged sixteen, Smith left his home town of Middlesbrough and wandered. He returned four years later to study at the local art college. He then studied photography at the Royal College of Art in London. After graduating, Smith moved back to the north east. His father was a third generation steel worker and his mother a barmaid. Smith mostly photographed in the streets, the ironworks, and certain pubs in Middlesbrough and nearby South Bank, the small ironworks town where his father was born and worked. Smith stopped taking photographs in 1990 but thirteen years later, he started to write. Using his archive for inspiration, his writing has become another way of making pictures and, combined with his photographs, Smith has created a unique document of working class life and culture, his culture.