Dennis Morris – “Growing Up Black”

There is an interview with Dennis Morris in today’s Guardian. Perhaps more famous for his music photography, Morris also documented the lives of black people in Britain during the sixties and seventies. These photos are collected in his book Growing Up Black.

Aged 16, Morris told a careers adviser that he wanted to be a photographer. “The guy just looked at me like I was mad,” he says. “Then he said: ‘Be realistic. There’s no such thing as a black photographer'”…
I ask him about the extraordinarily evocative series of photographs entitled simply “Wedding, Town Hall, Mare Street, Hackney, 1971”. “Man, that was a big thing, a real big thing. I knew a few black guys who had married white women, but this was the first time I saw a wedding between a white man and a black woman. I was a photographer for hire then and got jobs word of mouth because I was cheap and dependable. I remember a certain tension in the church, mainly coming off the in-laws. You can feel that tension in the photographs. It was moving, though. I felt they were very brave people, the bride and groom. Pioneers.”