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Smile, You're Fucked!

Paul Graham spent the 1980s hanging out in dole queues with Thatcher's jobless hordes.

by VICE Staff
30 October 2012, 6:35pm

Photos: Paul Graham, courtesy of the artist and Les Filles du Calvaire gallery. Photo editor: Nicolas Poillot.

Between 1984 and 1985, British photographer Paul Graham took thousands of pictures in hundreds of welfare centres across the United Kingdom. Originally implemented at the end of World War II, the welfare centres enjoyed a new lease of life at the beginning of the 80s after Margaret Thatcher came to power and stuffed them full of jobless young men and women.

Graham was never given the official OK to take any pictures. So in order to snap the people who hung out there in the hope of finding jobs for themselves, he had to place his camera discreetely on a chair and take the pictures blind, without peering through the viewer, in the hope that they would turn out right. He compiled the ones that did into a project he called Beyond Caring – a selection of which you can see by flicking through the gallery above.

Beyond Caring is currently exhibited at Le Bal gallery in Paris, where it will stay until December 9th. It is by far one of the top exhibits we've seen this year so if you find yourself in Paris, you should definitely check it out.