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Iconic photographer Dennis Morris talks new book Growing Up Black

March 27th, 2012 | by Leke Sanusi


Dennis Morris is revered for his music photography. After working with legends such as The Sex Pistols (becoming the band’s official photographer), Jimmy Cliff, Gregory Isaacs and Bob Marley, the east-ender has etched  out an iconic career spanning the years.

Morris was only eleven when one of his photographs made the cover of The Daily Mirror. Having worked as an A&R of sorts for Richard Branson’s label, served as an Artistic Director at Island Records and formed his own black punk band, Basement Five, Morris’ work has put him at the forefront of British art for the past five decades, providing ample material for his new book, Growing Up Black.

Featuring several of Morris’ photographs, the book also includes essays by key commentators: the noted essayist and broadcaster, Professor Stuart Hall; writer and lecturer Kobena Mercer, Gary Younge, and Mark Sealy.

The book charts the growth and development of black and, on the whole, British culture, providing a glimpse into the life of young artists, through the eyes of Denis Morris, in the ’60s and ’70s.

Morris details the highs and lows of his life and career, discussing the societal prejudices and artistic principles of the time.

Speaking to The Guardian he explains: “There was a lot of sacrifice, a lot of struggle. I remember when I was starting out as a photographer and still living at home, I would keep the window open in my room so I could hear the public phone on the street ring. We didn’t have a phone so I used to give people I worked for the number of the public phone outside the house.”

For more info about Growing Up Black click here.