Making History: Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now

By David Campany, Lynda Morris, Mark Nash and Tanya Barson

Making History Tate Liverpool Catalogue

Making History is the first book to explore the impact of the documentary on British artists in the twentieth century. The term was originally applied to film by John Grierson, often cited as the founding father of British documentary, who described it as ‘the creative use of actuality’, a definition that could equally be applied to the work of many contemporary artists.

While artists have been involved in documentary from the beginning, the constant discovery of new documentary forms continues to inspire art practice in the twenty-first century. The book features the work of artists, photographers and documentary practitioners including Grierson, William Coldstream, Humphrey Spender, Bill Brandt, John Bratby, Lucian Freud, Martin Parr, Isaac Julien, Jeremy Deller and Gillian Wearing.

Through incisive essays and extensive illustration, Making History demonstrates both how documentary has helped define the way the British see themselves and the extent it has influenced British visual culture over the greater part of a century.