Island Life: Photographs from the Martin Parr Foundation
Born 1949, Vancouver, moved to UK 1954
‘My pictures are about people, what they wear, how they look, how they interact with each other, against a background that sets the scene. They are not about me.’
Sykes became a keen photographer as a teenager, with a darkroom at home and at boarding school. He studied at the London College of Printing. Once a Year, Some Traditional British Customs, his first photobook, was published in 1977 with accompanying exhibitions at Arnolfini and Side Gallery. Documenting British folklore became a lifelong project. My British Archive: The Way We Were 1968 – 83 is a photobook that documents life in London from working class social housing to Tory party rallies, the National Front march in Lewisham 1977 to the Notting Hill Carnival Anti-Nazi League gatherings and Blair Peach’s funeral.