Each week, we’re showcasing the work of a photographer who caught our eye with their striking images and inspirational focus. This week’s is Rhianne Clarke (@), a photographer using her father’s recently-discovered archive to explore questions of ownership in the medium. The images also act as a testament to the profound history of London’s Caribbean community. We’re excited to present Rhianne’s story “Many Rivers to Cross,” so stay tuned for more images from this important project! And be sure to share your own work with us by using !
In the summer of 2014, I lost my father to cancer. A year after his death, my mother found a binder of 35 mm negatives in storage. This binder was accompanied by 450 photographs made by my father, presumably between the ‘70s and ‘80s while he was living in East Dulwich. My father was not a professional photographer, but his practice reflects a developed style and ability in the medium. Despite our very close relationship, he failed to share and bond with me during his life over our mutual interest in photography. Although this work may seem reminiscent of a memory of my father, it should not be considered as mere evidence of a person’s life. Instead, it points to the process of discovery and consolation that specifically comes from a family archive.
Tony Williams (left) and Ishmail Watson (right) MCing in their cousin’s home on Long Lane.
Ishmail explains, “Michael was silent with his camera. None of us knew these photographs were being taken, and Clarkey (a nickname given to him by friends) never showed us the photographs, even after taking them. He would walk for hours to my house all the way from Dulwich - that’s a good long walk - with records ready to play and his camera around his neck. It was all about the music and creating vibes.”
Image: © Rhianne Clarke