Photo Month | Oxo Tower London
Windrush: Portrait of a Generation
Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, South Bank, SE1 9PH
Windrush: Portrait of a Generation is a photo-story by award-winning photographer Jim Grover that captures the lives of the first generation of Caribbean migrants here in South London in the run-up to the 70th anniversary (on June 22nd, 2018) of the arrival of the ship ‘Empire Windrush’ from Jamaica.
The aging merchant ship brought 492 young hopefuls, nearly all of them Jamaican men, to help rebuild Britain in the aftermath of the war. This was a truly momentous moment in the evolution of Britain’s cultural life: the arrival of those first passengers and ensuing steady flow of migrants from the Caribbean, often referred to as the ‘Windrush generation’, was a major step in the creation of a multi-racial Britain.
Windrush has been featured a lot in the press of late; something which Peter had not anticipated since these photos predated the recent scandal. I was keen to find out what portraits the photographer had captured and this exhibition didn’t disappoint.
The gallery was buzzing with people who had come along to check out this gallery. Families, couples and individuals alike were devouring books of interest whilst others browsed the photographs displayed on the walls.
It was a nostalgic trip for many people gathered there. Chatting to a couple next to me, there were generations all around us, all from different islands in the Caribbean. All with a shared experience of heirlooms (multi-coloured glass fish) and sofas been covered with plastic (only being allowed to sit down on xmas). Giggles over these shared memories, despite differing experiences and backgrounds was really endearing.
I have always loved capturing people in the moment in photography. What Jim has achieved is documenting life and a shared fun experience. I highly recommend this exhibition.
Dates: 24th May – 10 June
Opening Times: 11am-6pm
I had the pleasure of meeting with Jim Grover at the event, who was so captivating. Living in Clapham, he went to domino nights and captured pictures of a generation which are now dying out. Having lived in Brixton for years and listening to the stories of friends, this resonated deeply with me.
In follow up to meeting Jim at this exhibition, I asked him how he managed to create such intimate and atmospheric shots. He told me that he shot on a variety of Leicas…Leica Q…the Leica Monochrom (only takes B&W)…and the Leica SL with M lenses.
“I love Leicas for lots of reasons…but one of them is their small size which makes me and the cameras less conspicuous which is very important for this sort of project”.