Dennis Morris' Portraits of Reggae Rebels and Punk Rockers

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"From the first time I saw a photograph being developed and printed, I was hooked. I couldn't believe it. It was like magic." — Dennis Morris

Dennis Morris via sed8magazine.com

Dennis Morris, a legendary British photographer, is a camera connoisseur ever since he was 8 years young. In the East End, where he grew up, he was oftentimes called as Mad Dennis because of his penchant and preference for photography over football. At age 11, one of his photographs was printed on the front page of the Daily Mirror, a newspaper in England.

It was 1973 when Morris’ music photography career began. Morris was 14 years young when he was invited by Bob Marley to photograph the reggae remainders of the UK Tour. His shots of Marley and The Wailers became so popular and the images appeared on the covers of Melody Maker and Time Out even before he turned 17.

images via dennismorris.com

After a few years, the frontman of the punk rock band Sex Pistols, Johnny Rotten (who was then an ultimate reggae fan), personally asked Morris to be the band’s official photographer. Morris trailed the band and took innumerable undisputed shots of Rotten, Vicious, and the rest of the band.

images via dennismorris.com

Dennis Morris has written two photobiographies:

1) Bob Marley: A Rebel Life: A Photobiography, 1973-1980

image via amazon.com

This is a visual celebration of the king of reggae, Bob Marley. Morris photographed him for several years until his death in 1981. The book includes 150 photographs, 50 of which are in color. “Can I take a picture of you?” were his first words to Marley.

2) Destroy: A Photographic Record of the Sex Pistols, 1977

image via amazon.com

This is a stunning black and white photographic compilation of the Sex Pistols which were taken within a span of 12 months: from their business travels to their inevitable downfall. According to Morris, “The Sex Pistols were the voice of the young, white youth of England. But it was done in a different way.

To date, Dennis Morris continues to be a pioneer in music photography. He now lives in London with his family. View more of his collections, exhibitions, and publications at www.dennismorris.com.

written by basterda on 2011-07-29 in #lifestyle #reggae #photographers #punk #sex-pistols #music #books #johnny-rotten #sid-vicious #bob-marley #dennis-morris

13 Comments

  1. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    living far from these scenes I have fed my imagination with his images in my youth days. Thank You Mr Dennis Morris!

  2. explorette
    explorette ·

    wow sid!! nice shots!! i love the sex pistols!!

  3. explorette
    explorette ·

    just bought the destroy book :)

  4. basterda
    basterda ·

    @explorette: How was it? :)

  5. sidsel
    sidsel ·

    @explorette: Gotta get one too! :-)
    I have a nice collection of Photography books about the Punk Era and yet I've never heard about this one before!

  6. copefan
    copefan ·

    brings back memories....... ahhhhh my punk days! seems so long ago..... flippin' eck it was a long time ago! ....... jesus i'm old! well not as old as jesus, but then that depends on which jesus your talking about!

  7. shoujoai
    shoujoai ·

    one of these Sid Vicious Pictures was already my favorite when I was a teen! I always wanted it as a poster, but did not find it

  8. myvitaminx
    myvitaminx ·

    if only he took a pictures of black sabbath,iron maiden and led zep it could be more awesomer!!

  9. sgurd4
    sgurd4 ·

    I want the Bob Marley book! How lucky Dennis Morris is for being able to work with those artists.

  10. weaselwiththecam
    weaselwiththecam ·

    Thank you for the article, and for bringing to my knowledge yet another amazing photographer.

  11. zooweemomma
    zooweemomma ·

    gee, where do i get the destroy book?

  12. basterda
    basterda ·

    @sidsel: What other punk-related books do you have?

    @shoujoai: Sid's photo, the one where he's sitting on the bed, is my favorite! I own a shirt with that print. :)

    @myvitaminx: Dennis Morris also photographed the bands: Bush, Oasis and The Prodigy.

    @weaselwiththecam: You're very welcome! :)

  13. 134340
    134340 ·

    Nice blog!

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