Author: Charlotte Bearn

Peter Kennard: Photo-Op

At the opening of Tate Britain’s latest exhibition 'Rude Britannia', which takes a retrospective view on British Comic Art, Peter Kennard's classic image ‘Photo-Op’ takes pride of place.

Peter Kennard: Photo-Op | Image

Time for our own look back at an artwork that will prove a defining piece of British history…

Peter Kennard (born 17 February 1949) is widely considered to be the leading exponent of photomontage. Seeking to reflect his involvement in the anti-Vietnam War movement, he turned from his earlier love of painting to photomontage to better address his political views.

Peter Kennard: Photo-Op | Image

He is best known for the images he created for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in the 1970s-80s and subsequent politically-infused art culminating in Photo-Op as arguably his best known piece to date. His work is displayed as part of Tate Britain's permanent collection.

What is Photo-Op?

The exhibition's lead image shows Tony Blair, in shirt and tie, grinning hard, as he takes his own photo. But behind him the scene is entirely filled with the smoke and fire of a massive explosion, blowing the desert apart. Its detonation seems to be simultaneous with Blair's snap. The figure of a self-snapping Blair was extracted from a news photo (originally, what he had behind him was a group of children and naval cadets).

The picture is a great coup. It catches Blair at his most Blairite – the casually contemporary guy, the publicity narcissist, in full grimace. And the whole scene is very nearly believable.

It delivers a brilliant insult, in the way that it manages to condense a lot of suspicions about Blair's character and priorities. And it plays a neat pictorial practical joke (which even a viewer who didn't share those suspicions might enjoy). In all ‘Photo-Op’ has to be the best and most adept critique of a prime minister and conflict, all rolled into one, that we have come across in the post 9/11 years.

Peter Kennard: Photo-Op | Image

To discover more politically-inspired artworks that comment on current affairs? Discover our expansive collection of political prints here

NEW RELEASES

The Wild Swim from £120

Oli Mumby

Various sizes

Off You Pop by Louise Nordh
Exclusive
Off You Pop £95

Louise Nordh

35 x 35cm

Limited edition of 30

Inside Mickey's Heart from £150

Angel London

Various sizes

Navy Boy £175

Charlie Evaristo-Boyce

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 25

I Will Bite from £135

Mathilda Mai

Various sizes

Italian Summer by SODA
Exclusive
Italian Summer £125

SODA

42 x 29.7cm

Limited edition of 40

Let's Get It On £595

Linda Charles

56 x 76cm

Limited edition of 45

Wash the Blues Away by Charlie Haydn Taylor
Exclusive
Wash the Blues Away from £150

Charlie Haydn Taylor

Various sizes

Inhale £175

Joe Webb

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 30

Roarsome - Green by And Wot
Exclusive
Roarsome - Green £195

And Wot

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 2

Fresh £200

Hannah Adamaszek

60 x 75.5cm

Limited edition of 15

Destroy the Patriarchy Not the Planet (Mini) £400

Hannah Shillito

27.9 x 21cm

Limited edition of 20

Scratchin' Cats (Blue) £150

The Cameron Twins

33 x 36cm

Limited edition of 20

Fast Dog £95

Gavin Dobson

50 x 70cm

Limited edition of 100

Pangolin - Framed by Lisa Lloyd
Ready To Hang
Pangolin - Framed £150 £130

Lisa Lloyd

44 x 44cm

Limited edition of 50

In The Sky With Stars £195

Charlie Evaristo-Boyce

70 x 100cm

Limited edition of 16

Meet Me in Matisse's Garden - Framed by Benjamin Thomas Taylor
Ready To Hang
Meet Me in Matisse's Garden - Framed £275 £255

Benjamin Thomas Taylor

56 x 76cm

Limited edition of 25

Gamebuoy by Nick Chaffe
Exclusive
Gamebuoy £100

Nick Chaffe

29.7 x 42cm

Limited edition of 50

Seascape W £300

Newton Blades

50 x 30cm

Limited edition of 100

Space Cadet - Magma by RYCA
Exclusive
Space Cadet - Magma £180

RYCA

13 x 26cm

Limited edition of 12

Attitude - Framed by Sara Pope
Ready To Hang
Attitude - Framed £110

Sara Pope

33.5 x 33.5cm

Limited edition of 100

Ley Lines £450

Maxine Gregson

100 x 50cm

Limited edition of 250

'Amazing' Shell - Framed by Charlie Evaristo-Boyce
Ready To Hang
'Amazing' Shell - Framed £125 £113

Charlie Evaristo-Boyce

54 x 20cm

Limited edition of 50

What's That Then by Nick Chaffe
Ready To Hang
What's That Then £400

Nick Chaffe

27.8 x 54.8cm

Limited edition of 5

Les Oiseaux - Artist Proof £295

Epi

42 x 29.7cm

Limited edition of 50

See You Later Alligator! £550

The Cameron Twins

51 x 72cm

Limited edition of 10

The Olive Branch (Azzuro) £2,500

Magnus Gjoen

95 x 120cm

Limited edition of 3

Down The Rabbit Hole... by Mark Petty
Ready To Hang
Down The Rabbit Hole... £295

Mark Petty

27 x 37cm

Limited edition of 50

AZUL Mini £125

Florence Blanchard

40 x 40cm

Limited edition of 25

Blue Sway £170

Angus Vasili

59.4 x 84.1cm

Limited edition of 8