Growing Up Black by Dennis Morris

A new book of photography by Dennis Morris, Growing Up Black, documents life in 1960s and 70s Hackney, East London…

Dalston boys, Downs Park Road café, Hackney, 1975

A new book of photography by Dennis Morris, Growing Up Black, documents life in 1960s and 70s Hackney, East London…

Morris moved to Hackney with his family when he was four, and he began his career as a photographer at an early age: he was just 11 years old when one of his images was printed on the front page of the Daily Mirror. He has since photographed some of the most iconic musicians of the past 50 years, including Bob Marley, The Sex Pistols, The Stone Roses, Oasis and Radiohead. A number of his photographs are in the collection at the V&A Museum in London, and a selection of the photos from Growing Up Black are part of the permanent collection at the Hackney Museum.

Wedding, Town Hall, Mare Street, Hackney, 1971

Home Studio, Hackney, 1971-75

Growing Up Black is published by Autograph ABP and features 95 black-and-white images, as well as essays by key commentators on black culture, including essayist and broadcaster Stuart Hall, writer and lecturer Kobena Mercer, author and journalist Gary Younge, and director of Autograph ABP, Mark Sealy.

“In this selection from his archive, Dennis Morris gives us a beautifully well-judged and eloquent portrait of the black diaspora, frozen at a particular moment in time,” says Hall. “It is pregnant with anticipations of what is still to come, infused with future possibilities. We are invited to read these images backwards and forwards. Growing up black in the 1970s, they suggest, was not so much a state of being as a state of becoming.”

Anti-apartheid demonstration, Trafalgar Square, 1971

Young gun, Hackney, 1969. All images: © Dennis Morris

Growing Up Black is published in March, in a limited edition of 500 copies. Each retails at £300 (special pre-publication price, £250), which may sound a lot, though this also includes a signed silver gelatin print by Morris. More info on the book is online at



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What makes a great slogan? We investigate the enduring power of these clever little phrases in our special slogans issue, dedicated to our choices for the top 20 slogans.

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