urban75 blog

What Soho Wore, Black Dandyism and Terence Donovan at the Photographers’ Gallery, London

There’s a cracking collection of work currently on show at the Photographers’ Gallery in London, including a wonderful retrospective on East London snapper Terence Donovan, a series on ‘black dandyism’, and a look back at London street fashions, called What Soho Wore.

I’m rather chuffed to say that the latter includes some of my own photos from Soho clubs in the 80s too!

On the first floor is Made You Look, which brings together a group of geographically and historically diverse photographers whose imagery “explores black masculinity as performance, as play, as invention – in particular through the adoption of a dandy-esque persona.”

There’s some terrific photos in the collection, and some natty outfits too.

Next up – and deservedly covering two floors –  is a wonderful retrospective on the work of Cockney geezer Terence Donovan (1936 – 1996), one of the foremost photographers of his generation.

Rising to fame during the post- war renaissance of the creative industries, Donovan became a major figure in fashion photography during the swinging sixties, before branching out into advertising and portrait photography.

Some of his work for male fashion magazines still looks box-fresh today.

My photos were being featured as a part of the What We Wore archive project, which looks to document the hidden cultural history of Soho through people’s photography and stories.

The images reveal an ever changing club culture, where fashion trends are quickly invented, adopted and discarded.

A panel led discussion explored some of the themes.


Photographs were displayed on the large screens by the Gallery’s cafe.

The organiser had been in touch after seeing my collection of archive photos from the long-lost Gossips Club in Soho – it was quite strange seeing some of those ancient memories being projected on to the big screen!

Located off Dean Street, the underground venue hosted a range of rock/goth/alternative club nights for many years, including The Batcave, Gaz’s Rockin Blues, the Swag Club, Alice in Wonderland, with funk, soul and reggae taking over on the weekends.

More info:

Photographer’s Gallery
16 – 18 Ramillies St, London W1F 7LW
Monday – Saturday 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday 10.00 – 20.00
Sunday 11.00 – 18.00
(*please check before setting out)

16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW
Journey Planner  or Street Map

[Photographer’s Gallery]