Could you describe the special qualities of Reggae and Dancehall that initially caught you in to that world?
The energy, the humour. Sure, rap and hip hop had energy, but the artists took themselves too seriously. Reggae always had a lighter side that I didn’t see in its northern incarnations. Dancehall was about having fun. Besides, reggae is supremely musical. And creative, innovative, always trying something new. The many layers of the rhythms, the echo, the syncopation of the percussion. And the divine vocalists. The music sounded so fresh to us after the energy of the 1970s faded into the jaded sound of the post-punk synthesizer bands.
You documented the scene for a decade in the 1980s — how did you change as a photographer in that time?
I basically learned the trade by taking these photos. I started out with my first 35mm camera, a 50mm lens and black and white film and gradually began to add different lenses, changed to colour film, started using a fill flash (I never got the hang of a stronger flash). And I became more interested in documenting everything, not just taking portraits of artists, but taking shots like the deejays gathered around the mic, performing at the sound system session, or the whole crew loading the boxes onto the truck to drive out to the next dance, or inside the pressing plant making records. And portraits of random people we came to know in our hours of hanging around and doing nothing.