A photographic book highlighting the work of one of Coventry’s most celebrated photographers is set to be launched.

Maganbhai Patel, better known as Masterji, launches his first book which will see a collection of 66 of his images taken during his career brought together in a new book.

The 128-page, elegant coffee table book will be launched at St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry on Tuesday, November 28 from 3pm-5pm and is being organised by the Photo Archive Miners and is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Festival.

Masterji’s book release comes a year after the successful ‘Masterji & Coventry’ exhibition in The Box at Fargo Village in 2016, with his work showcased in Mumbai and New York since the exhibition.

The 95-year-old had been photographing South Asian immigrants in the city since the 1950s and, only recently, began to receive the recognition he deserves.

The book has been written and selected by Masterji, his daughter, Tarla Patel, and Photo Archive Miners, publishers of the book, and includes an introduction by Dr Mark Sealy, which highlights the importance of the photographs which mark a transitional moment in both British and Indian history.

His collection of photos taken in his studio on Stoney Stanton Road had been largely undiscovered before the exhibition, but have gone on to capture national and international attention.

The launch will include speeches from Tarla and the Coventry City of Culture Trust, and will feature an opportunity for people to speak to Masterji.

Prints of his photographs will be displayed around the venue, turning the space into a mini pop-up gallery. The event is a Coventry Great Place Project supported by Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England.

Copies of the book will also be available for purchase, priced at £25, and it will then be available through the Photo Archive Miners’ website.

Tarla said: “Masterji gives a voice to those forgotten in the past, at a time when people were facing adversity in jobs, education and housing because of their colour. This book shows proud people, determined and confident in who they are.”

Mark Cook, of the Photo Archive Miners, said: “The book is very much a celebration of Masterji’s photography, it lets the photographs tell their own story and features an introduction from the man himself.

“To hold the launch at a unique historic location in the city is brilliant, it really proves the city wants to celebrate Masterji’s success and the following he has developed in the last year.

“We think it is a wonderful story for the city and for his family, something that really excites us and deserves to be told.”

Laura McMillan, Manager of the Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “Masterji’s photographic collection tells a wonderful story of the lives of people in Coventry and it’s only right that the images be preserved in a book.

“His work gives a real insight into the city’s history and, after last year’s incredible exhibition, this is a lasting way to celebrated his work.”

Coventry City Council, The University of Warwick, and Coventry University are Principal Partners of the bid and are providing significant support. The Ricoh Arena is Bid Sponsor while Jaguar Land Rover, Adient, Friargate, Coventry Building Society, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Airport, PET-Xi, SCC, Pertemps, and CEF (City Electrical Factors) are also Bid Development Sponsors.

To show your support on social media, go to @Coventry2021 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more information, log onto www.coventry2021.co.uk


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