Raised in Jamaica, Burke has spent half a century documenting the lives of black people in Birmingham, from parties and weddings to funerals and anti-racist marches. And his work is far from over

Vanley Burke has been sitting in his allotment. The 70-year-old photographer’s small plot in his beloved Birmingham is dedicated to root vegetables and fruit, and has been flourishing during lockdown and beyond. This year’s temperamental climate hasn’t hampered things, he says, as he starts taking a mental inventory.

“We have had an abundance of callaloo,” says Burke, referring to the vegetable often used in West Indian cooking. “My sweetcorn is coming up quite nicely. I’ve got some chard, redcurrants, gooseberries and wild rhubarb – that works really well.”

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