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Photograph - Fans at The Northern Carnival Against Racism during The Specials' set, Potternewton Park, Leeds
  • Fans at The Northern Carnival Against Racism during The Specials' set, Potternewton Park, Leeds
    Shelton, Syd, born 1947
  • Enlarge image

Fans at The Northern Carnival Against Racism during The Specials' set, Potternewton Park, Leeds

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Leeds (photographed)

  • Date:

    04/07/1981 (photographed)
    2012 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Shelton, Syd, born 1947 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    gelatin-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.319-2013

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case SP, shelf 2

Born in Yorkshire in 1947, photographer Syd Shelton documented resistance to racism in Britain during the 1970s and 1980s. He was the official photographer for Rock Against Racism, a collective of political activists and musicians that organised concerts with an anti-racist message across the country.

Before The Northern Carnival Against Racism 30,000 people marched to the concert site to show their opposition to racial prejudice. The concert featured The Specials, a multicultural ska revival band known for their ‘2 tone’ sound, which combined reggae, ska and punk rock. Fans of The Specials often adopted a mod revival style, combining clothing items such as Harrington jackets, pork pie hats, Ben Sherman shirts and braces. These styles referenced the skinhead, rude boy and mod subcultures, which had emerged in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s. The combination of these styles challenged stereotypes associated with these subcultures, which were often perceived as racially divided.

The V&A acquired three of Shelton’s photographs as part of the Staying Power project. This photograph has particular 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. Photographs by Gavin Watson depicting black participation in the skinhead movement were also acquired as part of the project.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of the crowd at a concert. Three teenage boys clamber at the forefront of the image. The boy to the left wears a Harrington style jacket, while the boy in the centre has his mouth wide open and wears a fedora style hat. The boy to the right of the frame wears a shirt and braces and has pushed himself slightly above the crowd, outstretched. In the background other faces in the crowd can be seen.

Place of Origin

Leeds (photographed)

Date

04/07/1981 (photographed)
2012 (printed)

Artist/maker

Shelton, Syd, born 1947 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

gelatin-silver print

Marks and inscriptions

Signed and editioned by artist recto in ink/certified verso by Autograph ABP

Dimensions

Width: 41 cm image, Height: 28 cm image, Width: 50.5 cm paper, Height: 40.5 cm paper

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 Syd Shelton, 'Fans at The Northern Carnival Against Racism during The Specials' set, Potternewton Park, Leeds', gelatin silver print, Leeds, 1981, printed 2012

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Youth; Racial politics; Activism; Crowds; Music

Categories

Photographs; African Diaspora; Music; Politics

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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