Black Country Living revisits the work of two photographers renowned for their portrayals of the industrial landscape in the West Midlands during the 70s and 80s. Presented across the six towns of Sandwell, the photography of John Myers and Janine Wiedel reflects a rich social history at a time of significant change and upheaval.  The exhibition raises pertinent questions for the lives of people living in the Black Country.  As a divided Britain contemplates a future outside the EU, how will the changes brought about by Brexit impact Sandwell, here at the heart of the nation?

Curated by Craig Ashley.

Café Royal sell limited edition Photobooks and Zines and you can buy Janine Wiedel’s publications here and John Myers’ publication here.



24.05.2019 – 29.06.2019


Presented in public spaces across Sandwell throughout the festival period.



John Myers is known for his photographs of mundane and understated aspects of British life in the Midlands. His portraits were exhibited at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham in 2011, and at Dublin Gallery of Photography in 2014. Throughout the 80s, his photographs of industry recorded the shift from manufacturing to distribution and the subsequent impact on the landscape of the Black Country. A comprehensive catalogue of Myers’ portraits was published by RRB Photobooks in Bristol in 2018, and his work is held in collections of Arts Council England and the Library of Birmingham.

Janine Wiedel is an American documentary photographer based in London. Her work has covered issues of social concern since the late 60s, with a focus on groups struggling to survive on the edges of mainstream society. Wiedel was awarded the West Midlands Art Bursary 1978 and spent two years recording the region’s industries, including chain-making in Cradley Heath and Bilston’s steelworks. Wiedel recently photographed refugees at the notorious Calais Jungle encampment in France. Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and The National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington DC.