Neil Kenlock spent the 60s and 70s taking photos of celebrities and icons, including leading political figures and international musicians. He used the lens to document the social, political and cultural landscape at the time, which is reflected in the stories behind each image.
Some of the people featured in his archives were at the start of their careers, on the verge of making an impact, while others already had international fame. This is one of the few UK collections by a black photographer that documented the stories of these particular individuals.
As a staff Photographer (West Indian World newspaper), freelancer and the publisher of ROOT magazine, Kenlock had access to some of the most iconic celebrities. He would attend concerts, parties and festivals, capturing the life experiences of musicians and performers of the time. Over the years he took photos of international superstars like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Eddie Grant, Eartha Kitt, Donald Quarrie, James Baldwin and Muhammad Ali.
Like many Jamaicans, his parents settled in Brixton south London when they arrived in England so Kenlock grew up alongside the reggae music community. When icons like the legendary Bob Marley visited the UK or if he went on assignments to Jamaica, he would document these historical moments in Reggae music. His music collection also includes rare photos of Reggae royalty such as Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Decker, Peter Tosh and John Holt.
The Kenlock Archive is also has a collection of leading political figures like a young Diane Abbott campaigning at the start of her career, Jamaican Prime Minister Micheal Manley, Indira Gandhi the first female prime minister of India and Queen Elizabeth II. Many of the individuals were his friends like the international poet Linton Kwesi Johnson and Baroness Howells of St Davids, who he captured in social settings. Kenlock’s collection of Celebrities and Icons reflect his range work and his interests at different stages of his career.
For more information on this collection or to view some of these photos please contact us.