1977: Lewisham and Belleville
22 November - 21 December 2013
Art Jericho Gallery
Art Jericho presents an exhibition of photographs by John Goto, coinciding with the publication of Lover's Rock by Autograph ABP
Lovers Rock is a series of intimate portraits created in Lewisham, South London in 1977. As a young artist, Goto taught evening classes in photography and film for two years at Lewisham Youth Centre, where these portraits were made.
Photographed against a plain backdrop, the sitters show an exuberant, supportive and friendly community at odds with the prevailing media images of black youths at the time. The unselfconscious engagement in front of the camera can be, in part, explained by their familiarity with the photographer, who was not much older than the sitters.
The series is entitled Lovers Rock after a musical sub-genre that grew out of the South London reggae scene in the mid-1970s. In 1975, the singer Louisa Mark cut the first Lovers Rock hit with ‘Caught You in a Lie’.
Also exhibiting are vintage prints from the Belleville series. In the autumn of 1977, Goto embarked for Paris, where he worked in the Arab-Jewish district of Belleville. The 19th arrondissement in many ways echoes Lewisham; traditionally a working-class area of poor apartment blocks, it had become home to Jewish migrants fleeing pograms, and later to North African communities.
Rather than photographing people as he had in Lewisham, Goto worked with architectural details, facades, and found objects. These pictures too seem to signal a form of resistance to the prevailing social conditions and attitudes.