‘The Jungle’ was the name given to a pub in the North Shields area of Tyneside where locals and visiting ships’ crews would drink. The pub was also frequented by photographer members of the legendary Amber Collective. Over 15 sessions Izabela Jedrzejczyk (pronounced ‘yen-jay-chik’), then 27 years old and, herself, a member of the collective, photographed fellow visitors to this notorious hostelry.
A SELECTION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS ON SHOW AT FPG
The portraits are evidence of a thriving community that mixed easily deriving from Newcastle’s tradition of being a welcoming port to refugees and émigrés over centuries. This vibrant society was enhanced by ships’ crews visiting from distant lands who were drawn to the smoke, lights and ambience of ‘The Jungle’ pub.
Beyond their value as a social document, the Jungle Portraits are a historical resource for research into fashion, textiles and hairstyles of the era.
THE GREAT CHANGE
Jedrzejczyk made these natural portraits as the lives of people in the North East were about to undergo upheaval due to the then government’s policy of de-industrialisation of the North East. This exhibition of vintage silver gelatin prints reaffirms the dignity and self possession of a people whose lives would never be the same again.
A CONVERSATION WITH IZABELA JEDRZEJCZYK
Izabela talks to Flow’s Alex Schneideman about the Jungle Portraits.
ABOUT IZABELA JEDRZEJCZYK
Born in London, Jedrzejczyk studied at Nottingham Trent under Thomas Joshua Cooper, Paul Hill and Raymond Moore before arriving in Newcastle in 1977 to start work at Side Gallery as an assistant. She joined Amber Collective along with photographers such as Chris Killip and Graham Smith and contributed to the collective’s growing archive of life and work in the North East of England. Jedrzejczyk was mainly known for her landscape work before 1980 when she embarked on the Jungle Portraits. She now lives in a small village near Carlisle, Cumbria.
FPG AND THE AMBER ARCHIVE
This is the first collaboration between Flow Photographic Gallery and The Amber Collective. The Amber Archive have lent FPG the original prints that Jedrzejczyk made for exhibition in the early 80’s. FPG is very grateful to Amber Archive for their help in making this exhibition possible.
FLOW PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY
FPG, founded in 2019, is the first and only gallery in London to specialise in showcasing British documentary photography. The gallery is a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting contemporary and historically important bodies of work by leading photographers examining life in the UK.