In the 1970s, an Englishman traveled to Jamaica with a simple goal: to photograph the leading figures of an unbelievably productive music scene.
Sometimes, photographs are produced out of a genuine interest, if not love for a subject; that’s true of the photos that Dave Hendley took of the late 1970s Jamaican music scene, a time and place that, to both his ears and ours, produced some of the best popular music ever.
Hendley spent time with, and photographed, some of the biggest names of the era, including legendary producers Lee “Scratch” Perry and King Tubby. Yet for all of this exclusive access, it wasn’t as if he was particularly well-connected when he traveled to Jamaica. As Hendley explains it, he knew how to take photographs at the time, having worked a series of jobs in London. Still, he wasn’t going over to shoot a “project”: he was, and still is, a die-hard reggae fan, and he was going to meet his musical heroes in person.
Hendley has supplied us with plenty of photos for this post, but they almost didn’t see the light of day. He said: “I put such little value on them. In the early 1980s, when some people making a documentary wanted them, I couldn’t be bothered to do prints, so I told them to just take the negative file. I never saw it again for 18 years.” (read more)
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