Monday, February 3, 2014

Portraits of Lewisham youth in 1977 by John Goto

In our recent post about Oscar nominated film director Steve McQueen – who intends to make a BBC drama series focusing on the lives of black people growing up in West London in the 1960s to the present – we wondered if he might also reference South London.

How timely, then, that a new book of beautiful portraits of some of Lewisham's young black people in 1977 has just come out. John Goto's Lovers' Rock features young people from a Lewisham Youth Club, dressed for a night out at the dance hall and looking fab. Goto was teaching photography there – the sitters knew him, so are very relaxed in front of the camera.

You can view the portraits on John Goto's website, and buy the book from the publisher's website (Autograph ABP). With texts by Paul Gilroy and others, the book is set in the context of the unique South London reggae scene from the mid 70s (which gave us Lovers Rock), and the violent clashes with the National Front and the police that occurred at that time. There is also a video featuring the photos, set to a soundtrack of Louisa Mark's "Caught You In A Lie" – older readers may recognise themselves or their friends!

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