Winter 2007

Off the rails

Anne Braybon
Report / Teamphoto [EXTRACT]

Brian Griffin, who made management look dark and funny in the 1970s and 80s, turns his lens on rail workers and their bosses

Brian Griffin’s latest photography project is ‘Teamphoto’, an exhibition and book that celebrate the completion of Britain’s first new major railway for 60 years. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link, now known as High Speed I (HSI), is a thrilling feat of engineering. It has taken nine years to build and includes new track, tunnels, bridges, station developments and the longest-span high-speed rail viaduct in Europe. More than 8000 people worked on the project, and ‘Teamphoto’ sets out to honour them.

It’s an ambitious project, and credit must go to art director Greg Horton of ic2, who convinced London & Continental Railways (LCR) to run with it, and to commission Griffin. However it can’t have been a hard choice. From the early 1970s, working with art director Roland Schenk on Management Today, Griffin created a new visual language for corporate imagery. The Swiss art director had identified the young photographer as ‘the new Robert Frank’, and their long commissioning relationship both disciplined and nurtured the photographer. Griffin rarely talks of his career without citing the pivotal role Schenk played. [...]

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