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John Goto, from Lovers Rock

News / Photograhy

Then and Now updates John Goto’s pictures of young people at Lovers Rock dances in the 70s

In an empty retail unit in Catford Shopping Centre is a treasure trove of British musical history, thanks to the revival of a glorious archive celebrating Lovers Rock. Then and Now, is a month-long exhibition that features a selection of photographs from the iconic Lovers Rock series, taken of Lewisham young people in 1977 by artist and photographer John Goto. As well as a new series of photographs of young people living, studying or working in the borough today, taken by the renowned photographer. The splicing of past and present seeks to reflect on the experience of young Britain and the Caribbean diaspora’s contribution to our musical fabric — and of course, to the slick, sartorial choices of Lewisham then and now.

John Goto’s iconic pictures were originally shot in south London’s Lewisham Youth Centre in 1977 and published the heritage collection of photographs, Lovers Rock in 2013. The series was acclaimed as being a refreshing and powerful look at young black Britain.

Speaking about the process, Des Willie, the photographer of the ‘now’ series who has recently worked on the BBC series Black Earth Rising says, “Stuff like this is really important as a record and document, but also helps to work out who we are. Especially in the current climate. I would like to think of another photographer and team that might pick the baton up and do it again forty years from now”.

Then and Now takes place at 2-3 Winslade Way, Catford Shopping Centre, SE6 4JU until Oct 28.

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Des Willie: Then and Now