Although called No Pain Whatsoever, the title of Ken Grant’s photography exhibition at Derby’s Format Festival – that kicks off today – seems to us a deliberately disingenuous one. The Liverpudlian, a long-time documentary artist, has collected a set of images of ordinary people in their leisure time, supposedly relaxing away from work, but even in this state of repose we see the inescapable pressure of working class life etched on his subjects faces. If this is as good as it gets, we are left thinking, what does that say about the rest of life?
A contemporary of Chris Killip and Martin Parr, Grant is a product of Thatcher’s Britain, so it’s no wonder his photography is more than a little moody. Now Senior Lecturer in Documentary photography at Newport University, he has work in collections at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. No Pain Whatsoever, showing at the internationally renowned Derby event, is causing a wider audience to sit up and take notice. Experience Grant’s work for yourselves at the festival which runs until 7th April.