Sam McConnell

03/10/18 - 09/10/18

Notting Hill in the Nineties

By the beginning of the nineties Sam McConnell had been working as a free-lance photographer for over ten years during which time he had been approached by both Magnum and Black Star photo agencies in New York and also claimed one of Athena’s best-selling posters. In a two year period Sam photographed the people that frequented the then famous Market Bar in Notting Hill including Danny and Franky, the doormen he had known since his childhood. The bar’s louvred windows and smoke-filled air provided perfect lighting for portraits of the varied and interesting characters that came to drink there. In 1997 Sam hung up his cameras and left for Africa

In today’s Notting Hill you are more likely to be transported by a Range Rover than an Ecstasy tablet. It wasn’t always so. In this remarkable show, Sam McConnells’s camera explores the Notting Hill of a generation ago. It’s peopled by a crowd – some black, some white, all joyful – who are clearly more interested in the moment than the mortgage. Not just a portrait of a place, more a portrait of the people in it, McConnell’s lens captures their exuberance, their warmth, their unalloyed lust for life, with the intimacy of someone who was himself very much part of the group. The show is a celebration of the mood and magic of Notting Hill, humanity at its most vibrant, before the Bohemians were overtaken by the bourgeoisie.