Martin’s photo legacy

Picket wearing a joke police helmet talking to Police at Orgreave 1984-85 miners strike..� Martin Jenkinson.
Picket wearing a joke police helmet talking to Police at Orgreave 1984-85 miners strike..� Martin Jenkinson.

PHOTOGRAPHER Martin Jenkinson, who was responsible for some of the most dramatic pictures of the 80s miners’ strike, has died aged 64.

From his home in Nether Edge, he worked for more than three decades as a freelance news photographer specialising in industrial and trade union assignments.

Photographs he took at Orgreave coking plant in 1984 including the arrest of Arthur Scargill, a picket wearing a jokeshop copper’s helmet talking to a line of policeman and a mounted policemen wielding batons were seen all round the world and have since become historical documents.

Martin’s picture of Scargill was subsequently acquired by the National Portrait Gallery for an exhibition of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th century.

When artist Jeremy Dellar created a re-enactment of Orgreave, shown on Channel 4, Martin Jenkinson was chosen as the stills photographer to document it. That said, according to fellow photographer Mark Harvey, he was slightly cynical about all the arts projects being commissioned which took a somewhat romantic view of the miners’ strike.

“In the talks he gave to schools and the National Mining Museum, he was much more hard-nosed about it and was able to give a unique perspective as someone who was there. He always used to refer to himself as a jobbing photographer.”

A Londoner, he moved to Sheffield in 1976 and worked as an engineer at Tinsley Wire where he became an active trade unionist before becoming a full-time photographer. In recent years he has also taught on digital photography courses. There are plans to mount a retrospective exhibition of his work.

Bill Ronksley, of Sheffield Trades Union Council, said: “Martin was a dedicated, hardworking trade unionist who used his many talents recording and photographing the struggles of working people in numerous occupations and industries, particularly in the coal mining industry.”

Pete Lazenby, of the National Union of Journalists in Yorkshire, said: “Martin’s professionalism was combined with his passionate political beliefs. It comes across in his images. He leaves us a massive and unique archive, an absolute treasure house of working class history.”

Martin, who died of pancreatic cancer, leaves a wife, Edwina, and daughter, Justine.

Edwina said: “Martin had an eye for a picture. Whether it be something he saw on a picket line, to something more quirky such as odd signs we saw on our travels, or views and places.”

Justine said: “On one occasion mum and dad were returning from an evening out when he pulled up without warning in Attercliffe. Leaving mum in the car wondering what was happening dad had spotted a steel worker taking a break and he had pulled up to take his picture. That was dad.”

The funeral is at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium next Wednesday at 2pm. Email in advance. There will be a collection, or see Jenkinson.