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LKJ, Brixton

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (photographed)

  • Date:

    1978 (photographed)
    2010 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morris, Dennis, born 1960 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.1493-2010

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H, case DELTA11

Dennis Morris moved to Britain from Jamaica in the early 1960s and began taking photographs at the age of eight. He had early success taking photographs of Bob Marley and the Wailers on their 1973 tour while still in his teens. Music continued to be a feature of Morris’ work, as he went on to photograph British punk group The Sex Pistols and became Art Director of Island Records in the late 1970s. Morris also made his own music as part of the pioneering punk and reggae fusion band, Basement Five.

Whilst at Island Records Morris signed artist Linton Kwesi Johnson (known as LKJ), a Jamaican-born poet and activist who had been involved with the British Black Panther movement. Morris has since said: ‘LKJ for me was the voice of the youths of Black Britain. His poetry fused with Dennis Bovell’s reggae beats captures the feelings of Black Britain of the time.’

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Dennis Morris as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives. A related photograph by Syd Shelton, which depicts the lead singer of the British reggae band Matumbi, was also acquired through Staying Power. Linton Kwesi Johnson’s collaborator, record producer Dennis Bovell, had first been successful as part of Matumbi.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of a man standing next to a palm tree painted on a white wall.

Place of Origin

London (photographed)

Date

1978 (photographed)
2010 (printed)

Artist/maker

Morris, Dennis, born 1960 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Marks and inscriptions

signed and titled on the reverse

Dimensions

Height: 68.5 cm Image size, Width: 45.5 cm Image size, Height: 83.8 cm paper size, Width: 66.0 cm paper size, Height: 92.0 cm mount size, Width: 68.0 cm mount size

Object history note

The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Dennis Morris, 'LKJ, Brixton', gelatin silver print, London, 1978, printed 2010

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process

Subjects depicted

Man; Palm tree; Spectacles

Categories

Photographs; Black History; African Diaspora; Music; Europeana Fashion Project

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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