Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F

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

Photograph
04/07/1981 (photographed), 2012 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.
read Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience Working in partnership with Black Cultural Archives, we identified and acquired photographs taken by black photographers, or which document the lives of black people in Britain, taken between the 1950s – 90s.
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
gelatin-silver print
Brief Description
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
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.
Dimensions
  • Image width: 41cm
  • Image height: 28cm
  • Paper width: 50.5cm
  • Paper height: 40.5cm
Styles
Copy Number
3 of 10
Marks and Inscriptions
(Signed and editioned by artist recto in ink/certified verso by Autograph ABP)
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Object history
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.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Associations
Summary
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.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
E.319-2013

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record createdFebruary 7, 2013
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