For the love of the long grass

eductional outing vanley burke

Educational Outing by Vanley Burke ©Vanley Burke

There is something about a field of long grass that invites flopping, hiding, mark-making, mischief. Like virgin snow or a still, blue swimming pool, it makes the urge to jump in almost impossible to resist.

And so it has always been. Educational Outing by eminent British-Jamaican photographer Vanley Burke shows Birmingham school children on a visit to the country. It’s taken from his series Handsworth from Inside 1968-82, but the timelessness of the long grass and the fresh air smiles has stripped the picture of age.

A photo taken this summer, forty, fifty years later, just down the valley in Hope, has the same grasses, the same sense of adventure, the same pathless opportunities.

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Hiding in the Long Grass, Hope by Kate Chappell ©Kate Chappell

NB    Vanley Burke’s Educational Outing is currently on show at the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park as part of Tread Softly: An Arts Council Collection exhibition exploring childhood through art. Scottish Poet Laureate Jackie Kay has written new poems inspired by works in the exhibition. Here is her poem inspired by Educational Outing.


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