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Reggae Bloodlines in Pictures at Pulse
The name of the image is ‘Backstage Recreation’. It is a striking yet etherial picture of two musical legends Peter Tosh and Mick Jagger as well as a third man who cannot be clearly seen. The three men in the black and white photograph are bathed in a swirl of smoke, making it seem otherworldly. Their eyes are glazed, their pose relaxed making it evident that much inhalation had taken place before the click of the shutter. ‘Backstage Recreation’ is one of the images that make the Reggae Bloodlines photography exhibition worth viewing and is certainly one of the images worth acquiring.
Reggae Bloodlines, which opened at Pulse on February 28, the final day of Reggae Month 2013, features the photography of Peter Simon. The exhibition takes its title from Simon’s seminal 1977 text on reggae music. Simon had co-authored another important text, especially at that time when very few Jamaicans were writing about the music, Reggae International (1983).
The images proffer up a journey through reggae’s history. The majority of the pictures being showcased were taken from the 1970s and feature the likes of Ernie Ranglin, Max Romeo, Freddie McGregor, Mutabaruka, Peter Tosh, Marley, Tosh and the Jagger. Yellow Man, Toots Hibbert, Jimmy Cliff, Coxone Dodd, Dillinger, Marcia Griffiths, the Mighty Diamonds, Michigan and Smiley, and Augustus Pablo among others. But there are a few others that feature the current generation of Reggae and Dancehall artists including Assasin, Etana and Beenie Man.
The earlier photos, those emanating from the 1970s, are more striking. Some of them are iconic images that have become synonymous with the music and its legends.While the more recent photographs are ordinary in their portraiture, the older images have a far more photojournalistic bent. Each tells a story and their subjects almost leap from the wall. It is through these that the reggae bloodlines pour forth.
The Reggae Bloodlines exhibition, housed in the small rooms that operate as the Pulse gallery on Trafalgar Road, will run throughout March. Images being displayed in the exhibition are on sale. Simon’s work has been included on the pages of New York Magazine, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Time and Newsweek.