Dave Hendley: Rebel Music 1977 to 1998

An exhibition of photographs by the late Dave Hendley has recently opened at Central Saint Martins and well worth a visit.Dave Hendley, was a musician, label owner, photographer and lecturer. His influence on the understanding, elevation and acceptance of Jamaican music is immeasurable. He first travelled to Jamaica in 1977 to add records to his already impressive collection and to photograph his heroes in the kind of places where few had previously dared to tread. Anyone with even a passing interest in Jamaican music will be familiar with his images from that time. His photographs of Jamaican artists, musicians and producers are suffused with an innate ability to reveal the true essence of his subjects and define an entire era. Some may also know Dave’s work through his informative fortnightly columns in Blues & Soul magazine.In 1979 Dave released new music from Jamaica in London on his Sufferer’s Heights and Cruise labels. He not only introduced Michael ‘Mikey Dread’ Campbell’s ‘Dread At The Controls’ radio show to the UK (through the ‘African Anthem’ album) but was also the first to release Sugar Minott’s self-productions in the UK with ‘Hard Time Pressure’ and King Tubby’s first actual production, the searing ‘Pure Ranking’, from Horace Andy. He also assembled comprehensive compilations of classic reggae and rock steady oldies for Trojan Records, including the faultless ‘Rebel Music’, which set the standard for future compilers of the genre to reach. Very few ever did… but Dave didn’t put his name as the compiler in the album credits. The music, and its creators, were far more important.Before Dave’s passing, he was insistent that a selection of Jamaican graphics, posters, record labels and sleeves should be shown alongside his photographs. These ranged from Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry at the Black Ark in Kingston in the mid-seventies through Jamaican artists visiting London such as ‘Winston ‘Burning Spear’ Rodney and Roy Cousins of The Royals on to dancehall producer Oswald ‘Ossie’ Thomas in Kingston in the late nineties. Dave was hard at work assembling this exhibition right up to his untimely and shocking death in July. We have tried to remain true to his original vision which is now a celebration, not only of Dave Hendley’s photography and Jamaican music, but also to the memory of one of nature’s gentlemen.“Jamaican popular music, in all its many guises, and photography have been the only two consistent passions of my life. If I were to be allowed one of these indulgences I think my obsession with reggae has the upper hand.” Dave Hendley 2008More Information: Dave Hendley: Rebel Music 1977 to 1998 10th November to 2nd December 2016 Window Galleries Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, London, N1C 4AA