UK Newspaper Honors Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry With Online Photo Exhibit


The Guardian newspaper in the UK has published a photo report showing photographs taken by music photographer Dennis Morris of the late reggae icon Lee “Scratch” Perry. Morris maintained a 40-year friendship with Morgan who died in August 2021 and created a photography book called “Super Perry” and published by Tang Deng. Their friendship involved music, the Sex Pistols and magic, according to Morris.

Photographer Dennis Morris was born in Kingston, Jamaica and grew up in Hackney, London. He made a visit to Perry’s Black Ark recording studio in Jamaica in 1976 and described the visit as “entering the magician’s lair”, comparing Perry at work to a wizard from the world of Harry Potter. He noted that Perry was “always dancing, always moving” as he created his music in the studio.

Morris, who was well known for his work with Bob Marley and the Sex Pistols in 1978, received an invitation from entrepreneur Richard Branson that year to visit Jamaica and seek artists to include on Virgin’s new reggae label. Records, Frontline. Morris suggests that former Sex Pistol band member John Lydon join him on the trip because Lydon was a huge reggae fan. During the visit, Lydon and Morris met Perry at the legendary Black Ark Studios, along with other musicians who worked with Perry, including Earl “Chinna” Smith, U-Roy, Prince Far I, Big Youth and The Congos.

Photographs in the exhibit include images of Perry working with Junior Byles in Jamaica in 1976. Byles worked with producer Perry and Joe Gibbs on his hits “Fade Away” and debut album “Beat Down Babylon.” There are also photos of Perry backstage at the Jazz Cafe in London where he has performed frequently over the years with Grammy Award-winning reggae singer Michael Rose, former Black Uhuru frontman . There are photos of Perry during the 2016 “Babylon by Bus” session in London in which he poses as a living, walking and dancing work of art with props such as cassette tapes and CDs stuck to his clothes. . Morris snapped Perry in his role as curator of the Meltdown Festival at London’s Royal Festival Hall in 2003, where the 70-year-old Perry was still dancing and constantly on the move. Photos of Perry on a London sightseeing bus in 2016 are described by Morris as depicting the musician “casting spells to bring Babylon to their senses”.

Along with his photos of Marley and the Sex Pistols, Morris is best known for his images of Marianne Faithfull and for designing the PiL logo and iconic Metal Box album packaging. The photos collected in “Super Perry” were also displayed on Old Burlington Street in London in September 2022.

See the gallery online at The Guardian

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