Notting Hill Carnival - the 1990s
This album contains pictures from 10 years of Notting Hill Carnival, 1990-2000. Some years I worked mainly in colour and there are few or no pictures here. I've included all the pictures I think are of some interest. Technically they are quite varied, including some I've carefully balanced and retouched for publication and others that are untouched raw scans. Not every picture is critically sharp, as I was often working with no time to refocus and sometimes while in the middle of dancing crowds and concentrating on emotion rather than technique.

I chose mainly to work in black and white to concentrate on the people and the carnival spirit. I didn't want it to be overwhelmed by the carnival costumes.

The Carnival's origins are in a 'Caribbean Carnival', organised in St Pancras Town Hall by Claudia Webb in 1959, the year after the Notting Hill race riots. The first procession was an impromptu one in 1966 from a neighbourhood street party, but it was in the mid-1970s that in began to be a major festival with a large attendance. But heavy-handed policing led to battles between mainly Caribbean youth and the police, luridly reported by newspapers and broadcast media which made many of us reluctant to attend the annual event.

August was also a month when I was often in Paris and it was only in 1990 that I decided I had to go and photograph Carnival, and was both deafened and exhilarated by the energy and joy of the event. For the next twenty or so years - with a few exceptions when I was out of the country or crippled by injury - I photographed the event, at first mainly in black and white but later on colour film and then digital.

A selection of pictures were shown at the Museum of London in 1998, and in the show 'English Carnival' at the Shoreditch Gallery in 2008. A 20 image portfolio with comments by George Mentore was published as Notting Hill in Carnival in Visual Anthropology Review in 1999, and a Café Royal volume, Notting Hill Carnival in the 1990s in 2018.

I've not been to Carnival for a few years now, and this year, 2020, because of Covid it can only be virtual. Two of the five of these pictures in the Museum of London's collection are being used in the publicity for their show, which opens in October 2020 - free but booking a time slot required.
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