Lovers’ Rock: check out these portraits from 1970s Lewisham


A series of evocative images of Lewisham residents taken in 1977 are captured in a new book



For just five days only, Lewisham Shopping Centre celebrated Black History Month with an exhibition of the acclaimed portrait collection Lovers’ Rock by John Goto. From way back in 1977, it contained twelve memorable images.

John Goto, Lovers Rock, Lewisham 1977. Courtesy Autograph ABP

The portraits, taken at Lewisham Youth Centre, intended to show an exuberant, supportive and friendly community at odds with the prevailing media images at the time.

Goto taught evening classes in photography and film at the local youth centre at the time, and went on to stage exhibitions at The National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain. He is currently Professor of Fine Art at the University of Derby.

John Goto, Lovers Rock, Lewisham 1977. Courtesy Autograph ABP

Entitled Lovers’ Rock after a musical sub-genre that grew out of the South London reggae scene in the mid-1970s, the show also coincides with a book with texts by Paul Gilroy, John Goto, Mark Sealy, and Baroness Lola Young (see below).

Finally, the exhibition organisers, photography charity Autograph ABP, are encouraging people featured to come forward and share their memories. Maybe you know someone in the pictures above?

This is box title
Lovers’ Rock by John Goto (priced £25) is now available to buy online here

  • Show Comments

  • Mickey

    Wow thats lovely! Dont they all look so classy compared to many of the ‘youuuf’ of today. Brilliant pictures!

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