Chris Steele-Perkins is a photographer who lived in Brixton for many years from the 1970s. His pictures record the life of the community from 1973 to 1995, but are focussed for the most part, on the early years.
These largely black and white photos are a series of intimate portraits of local people going about their daily lives. Moments in time capture both the major social and political events affecting Brixton during a turbulent decade, but also how ordinary people lived their lives. These are photos rich in contemporary detail showing local people, young and old, at play, at rest and at worship. They reflect some serious issues of the day alongside pleasures and passions, and show that Brixton had as much energy, diversity and exuberance in the 1970s as it does today.
Much of the enjoyment of this show is to be found in the detail. For anyone who lived in Brixton at the time, the exhibition is a treasure trove of scenes and activities they will remember. For those who didn’t, it’s a fascinating window on the life and times of the local community as it was some 40 years ago.
There are also some significant moments and themes. The police appear in a number of photos playing different roles; Margaret Thatcher is glimpsed in the market before she was Prime Minister; and many pictures reveal the importance of religion in the life of the community.
One of the aims of the show is to try to identify the people in the photos. So if you were in Brixton between 1973 and 1995, go along and see if you can recognise anyone. If you weren’t, go along anyway and enjoy the view.
The show runs until 29 June in Photofusion, 3Space, International House, 6 Canterbury Crescent, SW9 7QD. Entry is free and access is via the Brixton Rec
Open Monday – Saturday 10:30am to 5.30pm