27th Jun, 2022

Coventry photographer Masterji, 95, releases first book

A PHOTOGRAPHIC book showcasing the work of an acclaimed Coventry photographer, aged 95, is set to be launched.

Maganbhai Patel, better known as Masterji, releases his first book (entitled Masterji) which includes a collection of 66 images taken during his career.

The book has been endorsed by the Coventry City of Culture Trust and will be launched at St Mary’s Guildhall in Coventry on Tuesday, November 28 from 3pm-5pm.

It 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 last year.

His work has been shown in Mumbai and New York since the exhibition.

The 95-year-old had been photographing South Asian immigrants in the city since the 1950s, with his work growing popular more recently.

His daughter Tarla Patel assisted Masterji with the writing process and the book includes an introduction by Dr Mark Sealy (a cultural historian), 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.

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: “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.”

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.”

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