With a career spanning more than 20 years, and a c.v.
that reads like a Who's Who of popular music and culture,
Dennis Morris continues to photograph the leading musicians
of the time such as Bush, Oasis and The Prodigy. Several
books of his work have been published such as Bob Marley:
A Rebel Life; he has held exhibitions in the UK, Japan and
Canada, and his photographs have appeared in Rolling Stone,
Time, People magazine, and the Sunday Times, amongst others.
Dennis Morris started his career at an early age. He was
11 years old when one of his photographs was printed on
the front page of the Daily Mirror. A camera fanatic since
the age of 8, Dennis was known around his East End neighbourhood
as Mad Dennis, due to his preference for photography over
football. After inadvertently stumbling across a particularly
feisty demonstration by the PLO one Sunday, the sharp young
Dennis took his film to a photo agency on Fleet Street who
promptly sold it to the Daily Mirror for £16. Accustomed
to raising money for films and camera parts by taking photos
of christenings and birthday parties, Dennis was suddenly
on to something; his hobby and all-consuming passion could
be done for a living.
It was whilst bunking off school to wait for Bob Marley
to arrive for soundcheck at the Speak Easy Club on Margaret
Street, that Dennis's music photography career really began.
Marley, quite taken with the young teenager who was waiting
for him, invited Dennis to come along and take pictures
on the remainder of the tour. Running home to Dalston, Dennis
packed his bag and jumped on the bus. His photographs of
Marley and The Wailers became famous the world over, appearing
on the cover of Time Out and Melody Maker before Dennis
had even turned 17.
It was Dennis's photos of Marley that caught the eye of
the young Johnny Rotten. Rotten, a massive reggae fan, had
long admired Dennis's work and requested that he take the
first official shots of the Sex Pistols upon signing to
Virgin Records. Still in his teens, Dennis was the same
age as the Pistols and they soon learned to trust him completely,
allowing him unrestricted access to their strange and chaotic
existence. For a year, Dennis trailed the band, taking hundreds
of undisputed classic shots of the band. The only photographer
to put the Sex Pistols fully at ease in front of the lens,
Dennis's work with the band established, not only their
public image, but also Dennis's position as one of the most
exciting and striking music photographers in the country.